The charging of nine former black militants yesterday for the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police sergeant ends years of frustration for investigators who say the men were soldiers in a five-year war on law enforcement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The accused, all reputed former members of the radical militant group known as the Black Liberation Army, carried out a “terror and chaos” campaign aimed at “assassinating law enforcement officers” that began in 1968 and ended in 1973, Deputy Police Chief Morris Tabak said. One casualty was Sgt. John V. Young, slain on Aug. 29, 1971, whose killing was the focus of yesterday’s charges. He was killed when at least three men burst into a police station and one fired a shotgun through an opening in a bulletproof glass window.
Two men charged in the case already are incarcerated in New York State for killing two police officers. Lawyers for defendants contended that the evidence is insufficient. Said one attorney: “I don’t think they have a case.” A spokesman for state Attorney General Jerry Brown acknowledged that no new scientific evidence had been unearthed in an investigation made difficult by the lack of solid eyewitness testimony tying defendants to Young’s shooting. “We don’t have O.J.’s bloody gloves,” the spokesman said. “This is not going to be an easy prosecution, but we are committed to seeing it through.”