March for 'Jena 6' defendant all for nothing!
By Sinclere Lee
JENA, Louisiana (BNW) Mychal Bell did not get out of jail as expected and it looks like he will be locked down for the near future. Bell, the sole defendant who remains behind bars from the group of teens known as the "Jena 6," will not be released Friday, a court decided. And, right after the march and rally, the racist whites were back with their nooses. So, what did the march accomplish? Nothing! Like all these marches, nothing was accomplished.
Mychal Bell, 17, is accused with five others of beating Justin Barker in a school fight will stay in jail. In fact, the march has made it hard on the niggers in Jena. Over 30,000 niggers and it was all for nothing. Bell, 17, has been in jail since his arrest more than nine months ago.
"We'll be back," shouted one Jena 6 supporter outside the courthouse Friday. Right! You didn't do anything when you were down there, so now keep your asses at home. Big Al... AL Sharpton what are you going to do now? Mychal Bell is back in jail in chains and leg shackles!
With thousands of demonstrators converging on the small town Thursday to decry what they call "unequal justice," the state's 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal ordered a bond hearing for Bell within 72 hours. It was set for Friday morning.
A Louisiana city that hosted many of the "Jena 6" protesters Thursday became the site of a racially charged incident of its own. A photo taken by I-Reporter Casanova Love shows a noose hanging from a pickup in Alexandria, Louisiana, right after the marchers when home.
Authorities in Alexandria, less than 40 miles southwest of Jena, arrested two people who were driving a red pickup Thursday night with two nooses hanging off the back, repeatedly passing groups of demonstrators who were waiting for buses back to their home states.
The marchers had taken part in the huge protests in Jena that accused authorities there of injustice in the handling of racially charged cases including the hanging of nooses in a tree after a group of black students sat in an area where traditionally only white students sat.
The driver of the red truck, whom Alexandria police identified as Jeremiah Munsen, 18, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor a reference to the 16-year-old passenger. Munsen also was charged with driving while intoxicated and inciting to riot, according to the police report.
As officials were questioning the driver, he said he had an unloaded rifle in the back of the truck, which police found. They also found a set of brass knuckles in a cup holder on the dashboard, the police report said. Video Watch what police found on the truck »
The passenger told police he and his family are in the Ku Klux Klan and that he had KKK tattooed on his chest, the police report said. He also said that he tied the nooses and that the brass knuckles belonged to him, the report said.
The report, filed by Officer F.R. Drewett, said he and another officer were standing with protesters awaiting their bus back to Nashville, Tennessee, when one of the group told him about a truck driving with nooses hanging off the back.
The truck was circling around town, repeatedly driving past groups of demonstrators, the report said. The officers pulled the pickup over and arrested two after searching the vehicle.
At least one of the nooses was made out of an extension cord, according to the police report. The driver and passenger are white, according to the police report. An entry in the report lists "Bias Motive: Racial Anti-Black."
Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy said those involved were "from around Jena" and not from the same parish as his city. Roy said he is looking into whether the incident was a hate crime.
I-Reporter Casanova Love sent a photograph of the truck to CNN, 26, who said he is in the U.S. military. He's visiting his family in Louisiana and said he witnessed the event. After the arrests, Roy came out to address the crowd and apologized, saying he does not condone racism, Love said. Love added, "If the police had not stepped in, I fear what might have happened." Love explained why he sent the photo to CNN: "People need to see this. It's 2007, and we still have fools acting like it's 1960."
Roy said the matter is "not indicative" of Alexandria and that local authorities will look into it "completely, thoroughly and transparently."
Some protesters saw another truck with a noose hanging off it, but authorities did not find the vehicle, according to the police report.
Among the calls at Thursday's dramatic protests which drew worldwide attention was "Free Mychal Bell."
Bell's attorneys also had hoped to get the judge, J. P. Mauffray, removed from the case Friday. But a judge from a neighboring parish ruled after hearing arguments that Mauffray would stay on the case.
Bell is the only one of the six African-American teenagers to stand trial so far. District Attorney Reed Walters tried him as an adult and won convictions on two charges. Walters has said he believes Bell was the instigator of the alleged beating of classmate Justin Barker.
Last week, the appellate court vacated Bell's battery conviction, saying he should never have been tried as an adult. He was 16 at the time; 17 is the legal adult age in Louisiana. A district judge earlier this month tossed out Bell's conviction for conspiracy to commit second-degree battery.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel said it was "premature" to consider releasing Bell. The district attorney will determine whether to refile the charges in juvenile court, a defense attorney said.
Bails for the Jena 6 had been set at between $70,000 and $138,000, and all but Bell posted bond. He has been in prison since his arrest. The judge has refused to lower his $90,000 bail, citing the teen's record, which includes four juvenile offenses two simple battery charges among them.
Bell and five other defendants were arrested in the alleged beating of Barker, who is white, at their high school on December 4. The incident followed months of racial tension, sparked originally when three white teens hung nooses from an oak tree the day after a group of black students violated an unofficial rule among students that only whites sit in that area. See timeline of how events unfolded
Prosecutors originally charged all six black students with second-degree attempted murder and conspiracy.
Walters reduced charges against at least four of them -- Bell, Robert Bailey Jr., Carwin Jones and Theo Shaw -- to battery and conspiracy. Bryant Purvis awaits arraignment. Charges against Jesse Ray Beard, 14 at the time of the alleged crime, are unavailable because he's a juvenile.
Civil rights leaders and other demonstrators call events in Jena a sign of unequal justice in the 21st century. The white kids who hung the nooses were briefly suspended from classes but faced no punishments from the legal system.
Donald Washington, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, told CNN the FBI and other investigators thought the noose incident bore the markings of a hate crime, but a decision was made not to press charges because the case didn't meet federal criteria. The students were under 18 and had no prior records, and no group such as the Ku Klux Klan was found to be behind their actions.
But that wasn't the only significant event leading up to the alleged beating. Days before then, a fight broke out at a private party in Jena. A 22-year-old white man, Justin Sloan, attacked a black high school student with a bottle. Sloan was charged with simple battery. His subsequent punishment was probation.
There also was a fight at a convenience store in a predominantly black part of Jena. In the parking lot, a white high school student who spotted young black students went and got a shotgun out of his car. Three black students wrestled it away from him.
The white student later told police he felt threatened by the black students. No charges were brought against the student with the gun. But the three black students were charged with aggravated second-degree battery, assault, disturbing the peace and theft of the weapon. Those cases have yet to go to trial.
As authorities investigated what led to the incident involving Barker, most of the witness statements police collected agreed that black students had warned him against making certain remarks -- but what he said remains unclear.
Authorities estimated about 15,000 to 20,000 protesters came out Thursday to Jena a town of about 3,000, according to the 2000 census.
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