San Francisco 8 defendant Harold Taylor convicted of bogus drug charge

On Oct. 23, San Francisco 8 defendant and former Black Panther Harold Taylor was convicted of a baseless drug charge in Panama City, Fla.

Former Black Panther, San Francisco 8 defendant Harold Taylor
San Francisco 8 defendant Harold
Taylor has been convicted of a
bogus drug charge in Florida.

The charge stemmed from an arrest where no drugs were found. Taylor now faces up to 15 years in prison in what amounts to a continuation of judicial repression used against former Black Panthers and others who have fought racism and injustice. He was taken into custody immediately following the conviction.

In December 2007, Taylor was arrested for “attempted purchase of cocaine,” a purported $20 transaction with an undercover deputy. During the trial, the judge admonished the prosecutor for calling three witnesses that had not been properly disclosed to the defense, but still allowed their testimony.

In 1973, Taylor was arrested with two others for the 1971 death of a San Francisco police sergeant. The arrests were later overturned when evidence surfaced that they were tortured in order to obtain phony confessions. New Orleans police used electric shock, cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation to extract confessions from the three men.

In January 2007, Taylor was arrested again in connection to the decades-old case along with seven other men. The San Francisco 8 still face murder and conspiracy charges, and have drawn the support of many prominent people, including Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others.

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