SAN FRANCISCO -- Eight men were arrested yesterday in the 1971 killing of a police officer that authorities say was part of a black power group's five-year effort to attack and kill law enforcement officers in San Francisco and New York.
Police said seven of the eight are believed to be former members of the Black Liberation Army, an offshoot of the Black Panther Party.
The Aug. 29, 1971, shooting death of Sergeant John V. Young, 51, at a San Francisco police station was one in a series of attacks by Black Liberation Army members on law enforcement officials on both coasts, police said.
The attacks, carried out between 1968 and 1973, also included the bombing of a police funeral in San Francisco and the slayings of two New York City police officers, as well as three armed bank robberies, police said.
The investigation of the killing spree was reopened in 1999 after "advances in forensic science led to the discovery of new evidence in one of the unsolved cases," according to a news release from the San Francisco Police Department.
Police declined to elaborate on the evidence. "It could be fibers. It could be DNA. It could be other biological evidence," said Morris Tabak, the department's deputy chief of investigations.
Authorities said charges of murder and conspiracy were filed against Ray Michael Boudreaux, 64, of Altadena; Richard Brown, 65, of San Francisco; Herman Bell, 59, and Anthony Bottom, 55, both currently incarcerated in New York State; Henry Watson Jones, 71, of Altadena; Francisco Torres, 58, of New York City; and Harold Taylor, 58, of Panama City, Fla.
San Francisco attorney Stuart Hanlon, who represents Bell, called yesterday's arrests a "prosecution based on vengeance and hate from the '60s."
"There's a law enforcement attitude that they hate these people, the Panthers," Hanlon said. "Now they're going after old men."
Richard O'Neal, 57, of San Francisco, was also arrested on conspiracy charges. A ninth suspect, Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth, 62, was still being sought on murder and conspiracy charges, police said.
Police say he could be in France, Belize, or Tanzania.
It's unclear whether Bridgeforth and O'Neal were members of the Black Liberation Army.