PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 28, 1976
BOB CANNEY SUPPORT COMMITTEE
P. 0. Box 1463
Gainesville, Florida 32602 Telephone: (904) 375-8635
PEOPLES VICTORY IN FLORIDA
Bob Canney, political activist and former college professor, was
unanimously approved for parole by the Florida Parole and Probation
Commission on Thursday, March 25, in Tallahassee. He is expected
to be released from Florida state prison within three weeks and will
return to Maine, his home state, as part of the release agreement. _
The parole approval followed four months of intense support acti-
vity by the Bob Canney Support Committee, composed ofmembers in-
cluding his wife Connie, their sons Michael and Brett, Bob's brother
Vincent and representatives from such groups as the African Peoples
Socialist Party, Florida Education Association/United, World Fellow-,
ship of Faiths, Mass Party Organizing Committee, Workers World Party,
American Civil Liberties Union, Tampa Workers Committee, North Florida
Socialist Collective, and others.
Canney's two year sentence was upheld last November,when he and
his wife returned to Florida from their home in Alfred, Maine to
attend a hearing for.reduction of sentence. Robert Williams, the
original trial judge, denied the motion and had Canney immediately_
confined after a fascist diatribe delivered by state attorney Rich-
ard Mensh, one of the original prosecutors.
On April 18, 1970, at Straub Park in St. Petersburg, Canney was
an invited speaker from the University of Florida in Gainesville
at the first state-wide anti-war protest rally against U.S. military
involvement in S. E. Asia and against domestic colonial.repression
of Black people and other oppressed national minorities, and poor
and working people.
During the course of his speech at the rally attended by some
2,000 persons, Canney had said, "Let's bring the goddamn war home
and begin dealing seriously with the problems that confront us here."
Moments after leaving the speakers platform Canney was attacked from
the rear by six policemen who later testified that they were intend-
ing to arrest him for "profanity" a violatiQn of an ordinance passed
two days earlier. During the ensuing scuffle, as Canney vigorously
protested the unnecessary intrusion of police officers at that time
in the rally, some 200 riot-eguipped storm troopers emerged from
hiding around the park area and preceded to attack the crowd with
clubs and mace. Scores were beaten and many arrested.
The profanity charge against Bob was never prosecuted. He was
tried and convicted instead on the charge of "resisting an officer
with violence." After being imprisoned briefly in September of ,
1970, he was released on a $2,500 cash ransom. Following conviction,
Canney was fired by the university and forced to leave the state to
seek employment elsewhere.
The Bob Canney Support Committee contends that the state's attack
on Bob was the result of a conspiracy by state officials and federal
agents to silence him and intimidate others as well as to disrupt
and destroy the anti-war movement, progressive white organizations
working in solidarity with Black liberationist organizations, and
to "neutralize" their leaders.
The Bob Canney Support Committee said that the struggle to free
Bob Canney would not end with his release because it is a part of
a much greater struggle. To Free Bob Canney means to stop political
repression, to free all political prisoners, and to end all oppression
and exploitation of women, Black people, Peurto Ricans, Mexicans,
Native Americans, and poor and working people.
The appeal to reverse the unlawful conviction will be pursued
in the federal courts. It is temporarily snagged in the U.S. District
Court in Tampa awaiting a ruling from Magistrate Paul Game, Jr. on
a hearing held on January 27th regarding exhaustion.
For further information and for letters of support write to.the
Bob Canney Support Committee, P. 0. Box 1463, Gainesville, Fla. 32602.