BLA Members' Time Has Come
Ronald Bridgeforth is the last of the BLA members still sought by police.
In the early morning hours of January 23, 2007, eight historic arrests were made in a 35-year-old investigation involving a 1971 police killing at a San Francisco police station. Cops say that six members of the Black Liberation Army, a splinter group of the Black Panther Party, were brought into custody as a result of multiple raids that occurred across the country.
In a massive effort between the FBI and local law enforcement in three states, eight of the nine men that warrants were issued for were arrested. In Los Angeles, Ray Boudreaux and Henry Watson Jones were picked up by cops. At the same time in San Francisco, Richard Brown and Richard O'Neal were arrested. In New York, Francisco Torres was also brought into custody. Harold Taylor's arrest in Panama City, Florida marked the last arrest made. Two more BLA members sought by cops, Anthony Bottom and Herman Bell, were already incarcerated in a New York state prison.
While O'Neal is being solely charged with conspiracy to commit murder, the other men have been charged with murder and conspiracy. Cops say that Ronald Bridgeforth, one of the suspected getaway drivers, is still a wanted fugitive. Bridgeforth would be around 62 years of age today.
Police are also trying to identify an unknown, white female who entered the police station prior to the attack and may have given a signal to BLA members. In 1971 she was described as 20-23 years old, 5'8"-5'10", and 130 lbs with a light complexion.
Cops say that the Black Liberation Army, an off-shoot of the Black Panthers, was one of the major players in a siege against the police of San Francisco.
The Legacy Of The Black Liberation Army
The outside of the Ingleside police station.
In the late 1960's, San Francisco, California was a cultural hub for those wishing to explore new methods of social expression, political activism, and drug experimentation that culminated in 1967's "Summer Of Love."
However, only a few years later, some of those progressive notions had given way to racial tensions and anti-establishment sentiments. Cops say that the Black Liberation Army, an off-shoot of the Black Panthers, was one of the major players in a siege against the police of San Francisco.
In less than 20 months, SFPD lost six officers in what authorities believed was evidence of the BLA's brand of domestic terrorism. Authorities say the attack on a San Francisco police station on August 29, 1971 was an example of these terror tactics.
Police say that the incident began as six BLA members stormed the Ingleside station. Two attackers stuck their shotguns through a plexiglass window and opened fire, killing Sergeant John Young and wounding Nina Lipney, a police clerk. Two more men acted as lookouts and also prepared the escape route. A steel door blocked the two other BLA members from getting further into the station. After five minutes of gunfire and violence, the assailants left on foot and made their way to two getaway cars waiting nearby.
A City Under Siege
In the days following the attacks, the SFPD and local newspapers received four notes. The letters claimed responsibility for the attacks and were signed "The George Jackson Assault Squad of the Black Liberation Army." The BLA claimed that the attack was a retaliatory measure for the death of George Jackson, who died on August 21, 1971 in an attempted San Quentin prison break.
A year after the Ingleside attack, a BLA member in custody gave a jailhouse interview saying that this incident was part of a four-strike offensive designed to shake the community of San Francisco.
Today, the city of San Francisco is a much more peaceful place, and police and the FBI are calling the recent arrests a major victory.