updated 1/23/2007 4:27:41 PM ET 2007-01-23T21:27:41

Eight men were arrested Tuesday 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 Sgt. John V. Young, 51, at a San Francisco police station was one in a series of attacks by BLA 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.

Police mum on evidence
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.

Police ‘vengeance’ alleged
San Francisco attorney Stuart Hanlon, who represents Bell, called Tuesday’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. He is not believed to have been a member of the Black Liberation Army.

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.

The slain officer was killed when two men raided a neighborhood police station, firing a shotgun through a hole in a bulletproof window. A civilian clerk was wounded.

Three men, including Taylor, were charged in the attack in early 1975. However, those charges were dismissed by a San Francisco judge because of an earlier ruling that evidence was obtained by torture after the suspects were arrested in New Orleans.

Bell and Bottom are each serving life sentences for the killings of two New York police officers.

Another suspect in Young’s murder, John Bowman of Oklahoma, died in December, according to his lawyer, Ann Moorman of Ukiah.

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