About the Jena Six

The story has now become so political, and should make everyone stop and think really hard. The righties are viewing it as one thing, and the lefties are seeing it as another. But there are a few things people have forgotten. This is about racism in a Louisiana town. This has nothing to do with the Republican or Democratic parties. All the hatred and venom that has come about from this is just insane. Why escalate something that is already a very divisive situation? Everyone is shouting each other down, and claiming to have a better reason or position to either write or reply on this story. Everyone thinks they have all the answers. Racism is alive and thriving, and is just better coded now. Racism is wrong, and can be unlearned if given a chance. Here is a timeline for those that have not kept up with the story.

Jena Six Timeline

Aug 31, 2006: During a Jena High School assembly, a black male freshman student asked permission to sit in the shade of the “white tree” (where traditionally only white students sat). The principal responded that the students could “sit wherever they wanted”. That afternoon, he and his friends sat under the tree.

Sep 1, 2006: That morning, three nooses were found hanging from the tree – a clear reference to the historical lynching of blacks once widely practiced by white racists, especially in the southern states of the US.

When the principal learned that three white students were responsible, he recommended expulsion from the school which was overruled by the local Board of Education. They were instead punished with a three day in-school suspension.

School Superintendent Roy Breithaupt agreed with the Board and said, “Adolescents play pranks. I don’t think it was a threat against anybody.”

Local black residents said this further inflamed racial tensions in the town.

Sep 6, 2006: The principal called a student assembly, in which students sat in segregated black and white sections. LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed Walters addressed the assembly and is alleged to have threatened the protesters that if they didn’t stop complaining about an “innocent prank”, he could “take [their] lives away with the stroke of a pen”.

Sep 7, 2006: Police began patrolling the halls of Jena High School.

Sep 8, 2006: The school was declared to be in “total lockdown”.

Sep 10, 2006: Dozens of black students attempted to address the school board but were refused because the board believed “the noose issue” had been resolved.

Racially charged confrontations between white and black students continued throughout the fall.

Nov 30, 2006: The main building of Jena High School was set on fire and later needed to be gutted and demolished. Black and white students blamed each other for the arson.

Dec 1, 2006: At a mostly-white party held at the Fair Barn, five black students attempted to enter the party but were told they were not allowed in without an invitation. They persisted and said they had friends who were already at the party. A white man confronted the students and a fight ensued, which caused him to also be banned from the party.

Outside, the black students became involved in another fight with a group of white men (not students). Sixteen year-old Robert Bailey (later one of the Jena Six) alleged that a beer bottle had been broken over his head, although there are no medical records to indicate treatment was provided.

Dec 2, 2006: A white student who had attended the previous night’s party encountered Mr Bailey and his friends at a convenience store. An argument ensued and the white student is alleged to have run back to his pickup truck and produced a 12-gauge shotgun. Mr Bailey said he wrested the gun from the white student and took it home with him. Because the white and black students’ versions of events contradicted each other, police formed a report based on the testimony of an independent witness.

Mr Bailey was charged with theft of a firearm, second-degree robbery and disturbing the peace. The white student was not charged.

Dec 4, 2006: Jena High School student Justin Barker, 17, was allegedly beaten unconscious by black students including Mr Bailey. It was reported that Mr Barker had boasted earlier in the day that Mr Bailey had been beaten by a white man at the party on Dec 1, which Mr Barker denied. Mr Barker was treated at the local hospital and released after two hours. He attended a school function that evening.

Meanwhile, the six black students accused of the attack were arrested. Robert Bailey, Mychal Bell, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw were initially charged with assault. The sixth suspect, Jesse Ray Beard, was charged as a juvenile because he was 14 years old.

District Attorney Walters upgraded the assault charges to attempted murder.

June 26, 2007: On the first day of Mychal Bell’s trial, in which he was tried as an adult, Mr Walters agreed to reduce the charges for Mr Bell to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same crime, arguing that the “deadly weapon” used was Mr Bell’s tennis shoes, to which the jury agreed. There were conflicting witness accounts on whether Mr Bell had been involved in the attack.

Mr Bell was found guilty and faced a sentence of up to 22 years in prison. He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on September 20, 2007. There was public outcry because Mr Bell’s public defender did not call any witnesses in his attempt to defend his client.

Later, Mr Bell received new defense attorneys who requested a new trial on the grounds that Mr Bell, who was 16 years old at the time of the incident, should not have been tried as an adult. They also argued that the new trial should be held in another parish.

Aug 24, 2007: A request to lower Mr Bell’s $90,000 bond was denied due to his juvenile record, which showed that he had been previously convicted of four violent crimes.

Sep 4, 2007: A judge dismissed the conspiracy charge but upheld the battery conviction, although he agreed that Mr Bell should have been tried as a juvenile.

On this day, charges against Carwin Jones and Theo Shaw were reduced to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy.

Sep 10, 2007: Charges against Robert Bailey were reduced to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy.

Sep 14, 2007: Mr Bell’s conviction for battery was overturned by Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Lake Charles on the grounds that he should not have been tried as an adult. District Attorney Reed appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Sep 20, 2007: On the day Mr Bell was initially due to be sentenced, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles ordered a district judge to hold a hearing on why Mr Bell is still being held in jail.

Source: Wikipedia and current media reports.

Via Roanoke.com, comes the disgusting story of William A. White, a putrid Roanoke neo-nazi that posted the youths’ addresses on a Web site that calls for lynching the group. The freak known as William A. White, also “listed some of the defendants’ telephone numbers, urging his readers to “Get in touch, and let them know justice is coming.”

As thousands of people rallied in Jena, La., for six black youths charged with assaulting a white classmate, the FBI was monitoring a neo-Nazi activist in Roanoke who posted their names and addresses on a Web site that proclaimed: “Lynch the Jena 6.”

William A. White also listed some of the defendants’ telephone numbers, urging his readers to “Get in touch, and let them know justice is coming.”

The leader of a Roanoke-based white supremacy group, White has a penchant for inserting inflammatory rhetoric into racially charged incidents that attract national attention, as the Jena Six case has done this week.

“He has done this kind of thing routinely, but probably never in such an outrageous way as this,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups.


The review came as protesters gathered Thursday in Jena, the site of racial unrest since last summer. After a black student asked the school for permission to sit under a tree where white students traditionally gathered, three nooses were found hanging from the tree. Months later, the Jena Six were charged with beating a white student.

On his Web site, White complained of “agitators” who were demanding acquittals.

A posting Thursday afternoon that contained contact information for the six youths was headlined: “Addresses of Jena 6 N—–s; In case anyone wants to deliver justice.”

In a second item, White was quoted as saying: “If these n——s are released or acquitted, we will find out where they live and make sure that white activists and white citizens in Louisiana know it … in order to find someone willing to deliver justice.”

This insanity needs to stop now. STOP THE HATE!

Cross Posted from The Katrinacrat Blog

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to About the Jena Six

  1. Exactly right, Donnie. I’ve tried to keep away from the “rush to judgment,” but you know the USA: the more complex an issue, the quicker the snap judgments. The simpler the moral question, the more convoluted the arguments.

    I don’t know what went on, but I know that SOMETHING did, and that racism IS alive and well in America. Heck, we’re even inviting all the “Latinos” to play using the code words “illegal immigrants.”

    In some ways, the racial situation in America may be the most explosive that they’ve been since the 1920s, and the resurgence of the “Second Wave” of the KKK (the one that you see in the famous photos marching in Washington, D.C.)

    That KKK, sad to say, was a big force here in Oregon, and mostly aimed at Catholics, since there were very few blacks here.

  2. Darrell Prows says:

    Donnie, it’s your place, it’s your folks, you know whereof you speak. Thank you.

  3. Forgot to add: It was sold as “All-American, Patriotic and ‘Christian’ (meaning Protestant)” and was fundamentally anti-immigrant (many of whom were Catholic, thus the anti-“Papist” component.)

    Sound familiar?

  4. Buzz says:

    I fully admit that racism does still exists in America. However, I do blame such people as The Rev. Jessie Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton as only fanning the fires of racism.
    Whenever and wherever there is a national alleged racial provocation, they both rush to judgement! The thousands of people that were bussed down to Jena was, to say the least, a slight over-reaction.
    When the Duke male students were alleged to have raped a female frat stripper, there was again a rush to judgement by both of these clowns. They hurried down to Charlotte to take their stand, long before all the facts were in. The Reverends had these young men convicted before their trail even began. Then, when they were entirely vindicated, no apology was forthcoming from either of them. The reputation and future of these students was, and still is, jepordized. Their families were put thru great stress. I think a logical thinking black person like Bill Cosby would make a much better choice as a spokesman for blacks.
    In my opinion, blacks do themselves so much more harm by having advocates that always play the race card before the facts are in. O.J. Simpson was found not guilty mostly because Judge Itto allowed the race card to be played. Instead of being a trial about who murdered two defenseless people, it became a trial about whether Mark Furman ever used the “N” word. The judge allowed his court room to become a circus.
    As long as we are talking about hate and discrimination, I would like to ask who is the spokesman for my gay miniority group? Your right, there is none. When Matthew Sheppard was tied to a fence and murdered in Wyoming there was not a national outcry. Thousands of people didn’t show up in Laramie. In fact the fanatic “Pastor Phellps” was permitted to spew his homophobia at the family funeral. Thousands of gays and lesbians are brutalized and murdered each day throughout the US. These transgressions, however, are not publicized because this is one minority group which is believed to be expendable. I have often heard the comment, “Just one more less faggot”. Suicide remains the leading cause of death among gay teenagers who are most often rejected by their families, peers, church, school and community. Yet, state and federal legislatures are dragging their collective feet about passing gay hate crime legislation!!
    I did not make these comments to lessen the tragic effect of discrimination based on a persons race. I did it only to point out that some miniority groups are considered far more expendable than others. As mentioned previously, I feel blacks could better facilitate racial harmony by finding less emotional spokes people, who don’t play the race card too swiftly.

  5. Stuart ONeill says:

    Great work Donnie. Should be on the frontpage of many sites.

    While you know, the rest may not, I was directly involved in the 2006 congressional campaign in your area. A story from that campaign may be useful.

    As the candidate was going into the county Democratic Central Committee meeting for their endorsement ‘convention’, featuring speeches from the three candidates, he saw pickups in the parking lot with KKK Symbols in the rear windows.

    And this was the Dem Central Committee for the area!

    The Jenna 6 story is so 1960’s it’s hard for me to believe…and believe it I do!!

    It is a different world you live in, my friend. Not sure I could take it.

  6. Stuart ONeill says:

    Donnie: On reflection was that the ‘parish’/county central committee or the STATE Central Committee? You may remember.

    My memory is now telling it was the State Committee…which makes it all the more shameful.

  7. Buzz says:

    Yes, I agree Donnie it is time to STOP THE HATE! Often the rhetoric of the church, politicians, schools, parents, and minority spokesmen brings division not inclusion. As stated previously, black leaders who quickly and constantly play the race card do little, or nothing, to promote unity. It seems that many of us still have an “us” versus “them” mind set. Until “them” becomes a working part of “us” harmony won’t exist.
    We should also remember that tolerance is far different than acceptance. I, as a member of a miniority, don’t simply want to be tolerated (allowed to exist) but instead wish to be accepted. ( a legitimate member of “us” with the same identical rights)
    It sometimes amazes me that when I present issues related to homophobia, there is generally little or no response. The absolute dread that their child might be, or turn out to be, gay will frequently drive parents to act irrationally. They are sometimes disowned and thrown out on the street. Here, they often have little recourse but to pursue prostitution or drugs in order to survive. In July of 2005 a 21 year old Tampa father was charged in the death of his 3 year old son, whom he had pummeled unconscious. (365gay.com) The mother testified that he was fearful that his son would, “turn out gay”, so he forced him to box. He would slap the child in the head until he cried, wet himself, or began to vomit. She confirmed that daddy was concerned that, “his son might be gay.”
    Stories such as this are not unusual but get little national coverage. People like James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Rick Santoriun, Pat Robertson, and George W. Bush, who preach a language of hate and intolerance, can never divorce themselves from blame in cases like this.
    The Iranian President made the ridiculous comment at Columbia that gays did not exist in his country. However, is this any more ridiculous than a US military which would like us believe that gays don’t exist in the armed forces. (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) I agree Donnie it is time to stop the hate, not only the hate that is manifest in Jena!