Member of SF 8 faces Florida charges
October 2008

Harold Taylor, one of the San Francisco 8, is facing a bogus charge in Florida.

The SF 8 are former Black Panthers and Black Panther supporters who have been brought up on 4-decade old California murder chrges which at the time were thrown out of court. The charges were resurrected by prosecutors who still want to get these men for their political views and work. Taylor, finally released on bond, is now facing another bogus charge in Panama City, Florida.

Harold Taylor was arrested last December in Florida on a baseless charge of "attempted purchase of cocaine." Several people were swept up in a neighborhood sweep and sting operation at that time. Harold's case has coincidentally received unusual attention by the Florida court which is now fast-tracking his prosecution after many months of inactivity. He is scheduled to go to trial on October 23rd at 8:30 am at the Bay County Courthouse - 300 East 4th Street in Panama City, Florida. Supporters are urged to attend.

His lawyer writes: "It is clear from the arrest and all the surrounding circumstances that the charge against Harold in Florida is totally baseless. A thorough search of his person and his van resulted in NO seizure of any substances, legal or illegal. Further, NO allegation is even made that any money was produced. Harold was swept up in a sting operation in which numerous individuals were arrested. All except Harold were alleged to have actually made a purchase. None of them were with him when he was arrested. He has NO drug history!! In short, Harold was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had gone to this neighborhood to thank some of the people that had written letters of support for him when he was seeking release on bail in San Francisco.

News of his arrest spread quickly and he was bailed out shortly after he appeared in a Florida court.

Just days earlier he had appeared on "Democracy Now" with hosts­–­ Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, and attended a press conference held by the World Council of Churches at Riverside Church announcing international support for the SF8 launched by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other Nobel Laureates.

Harold has every intention of fighting the charges in San Francisco and Florida. In light of the torture he suffered in New Orleans in 1973, his strength and character in the face of this latest ordeal are amazing. The stress this has caused for him and his family is overwhelming.

--Randy Montesano, Harold Taylor's attorney in the San Francisco 8 case.

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