Back to Black

Jena Six Case

by Back to Black

 - Sat, Sep 22 2007
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Outline/Timeline

"Jena Six" Case

Theodore Shaw

Bryant Purvis

Robert Bailey

Mychal Bell

Carwin Jones

Jesse Beard

Jena, a small town still considered segregated in rural Louisiana, is the largest in LaSalle Parish with a population of nearly 3,000. Of that number, 85 percent are White, while there are only 350 Blacks in the entire area. Black students make up 20% of the schools population.

September-November 2006:

Racial tension in community

Student, Justin Purvis (Bryant Purvis’ first cousin) asked Principal if he could sit under "white" tree (known for white students)

Principal says yes. Purvis’ and several other students sit under the tree.

Next day, student returns to school to see three nooses in the school colors hanging from tree.

Students (3) responsible for hanging nooses suspended for three days. Mandatory expulsion hearing.

Superintendent stepped in and called it a "prank". Allowed student to come back to school.

Black students protested under the "white tree".

School administrators called police officers and district attorney.

Held assembly, District attorney stated, "I can take away your lives with a stroke of a pen" if they didn’t stop making a fuss about an "innocent prank".

November 30,2006 School fire.

December 2006

  • December 1, 2006. Robert Bailey, one of the "Jena Six" goes to a party. Gets beaten up by whites (Justin Sloan, sister, Jessie and several others). Police arrived and told Bailey to get back on his side of town. Justin was the only one charged and he received simple battery.
  • December 2,2006: he goes to a local convience store. Matt Windham, a white man involved in the beating the day before pulls a weapon (gun) on him and another boy, Ryan. Robert grabs it and runs home. Ryan and Robert are charged with armed robbery and theft of over $500. Guy that pulled the gun was charged with nothing.
  • Next day, December 4, 2006, "Jena Six" allegedly beat Justin Barker. He was allegedly taunting Black students, calling then n---ers and showing support for the noose hanging, as well as Robert being beat up.
  • Bryant came home and told mother about the fight as a spectator, not as a participant. The next day he was arrested. His bond was set to $70,000. He spent 3 days and 2 nights in jail. Family mortgaged house to make bail.
  • Bryant was expelled from Jena High School.
  • He now attends school in Dallas, TX with uncle Jason Hatcher, professional football player.
  • Bryant faces 80 years to life in prison.

January 2006:

  • Jena Six imprisoned.

 

July 2007 –August 2007

      Mychal Bell offered plea bargain (i.e. pleading guilty) by Black court-appointed attorney. He refuses.


      Second degree attempted murder charged dropped. Aggravated battery and conspiracy replaces the charge (dangerous weapon: his shoes)


      He is tried and convicted by all-white jury. One of the jurors is the father of Justin Barker’s friend. Parents are refused to sit in the trial. The judge issued a gag order.

      When Mr. Bell’s father asked the defense lawyer to appeal the gag order so they can be inside the courtroom with their son, the lawyer replied "The best thing for you to do is to get the hell out of my face." The prosecution brought forth 17 witnesses of whom many stated that they did not see Mr. Bell hit Mr. Barker. The victim himself even testified that he did not know if Mr. Bell hit him or not. The defense lawyer did not call any witnesses and rested his case. After three hours of deliberation, Mr. Bell was convicted and is currently awaiting sentencing.


      Theo Shaw released from prison on bail over $100,000. Spent eight months In jail.

      Robert Bailey also spent eight months in jail.

      July 31: hundreds rally in Jena

September 2007

      District judge throws out conspiracy charge. Third Circuit court throws out aggravated battery charge.

      Juvenile conspiracy charge still stands. If convicted, he will face jail time up until his 21st birthday. He is currently 17 years old. He was 16 when the incident occurred.

      Bryant Purvis hasn’t been arraigned. His arraignment is scheduled for December. He is one of the two left to be charged with second degree attempted murder and conspiracy to commit second degree attempted murder. Robert Bailey Jr. also has this charge.


      Rally in Jena, LA

      Mychal Bell was denied release, September 21, 2007.

      Nazis/KKK pose threat to Jena Six families. And send out emails/instant messages to people fighting on the behalf of the boys.

  • Sources:

http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_3753.shtml

freethejena6.org (Families website)

democracynow.org

colorofchange.org

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