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Old 09-20-2007, 08:51 AM   #21
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David Bowie has donated $10,000 to a legal defense fund for six black teens charged in an alleged attack on a white classmate in the tiny central Louisiana town of Jena.

The British rocker's donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund was announced by the NAACP as thousands of protesters were expected to march through Jena on Thursday in defense of Mychal Bell and five other teens. The group has become known as the Jena Six.

"There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena," Bowie said Tuesday in an e-mail statement. "A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented."

Bell was found guilty on second-degree battery charges June 28 by a six-member, all-white jury. Before the case was overturned by the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, his sentencing had been set for Thursday.

The court said Bell, who was 16 at the time of the alleged December 2006 beating, shouldn't have been tried as an adult.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who helped organize the march, planned to do his syndicated radio show from Alexandria on Wednesday, then travel about 35 miles to Jena in an attempt to visit Bell, who remains in jail because he is unable to post $90,000 bond.

Sharpton says he expects more than 10,000 marchers.

"We are gratified that rock star David Bowie was moved to donate to the NAACP's Jena campaign," National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement. "We hope others will join him."
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:16 AM   #22
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Here in central Florida there were a couple of busloads of people heading to Jena, they left yesterday.

I think you have to question whether you have a culture of racism at a school when black students feel they have to ASK PERMISSION to sit under the "white tree". Even though they were told they could indeed sit under it, the fact they felt it necessary to ask first speaks volumes.
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:37 AM   #23
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first....as a DA you should know to watch your mouth and not to say things that do sound like a threat or could be taken as a threat.

Now....you can laugh at me, but I'll admit it, I'm not totally up on my history and geography and where the North was seperated from the South in the Civil war, but I believe WV was part of the south.

My mother in law and her family are from the South and well....I've been born and raised in the North. I've never seen the difference in color of skin. I went to inner city schools, had friends of all different races. My parents never had a problem with who I was friends with or dated.

The first time I saw how different not only the South is from the North, still to this day, but also how completely stupid people can be, was when I was down South visiting my husband (when we were engaged) and his mother. In the middle of a resturant she and I were at, she unleashes and starts using N***** to describe people.

I was completely shocked and horrified, even more so to see that no one around us who had heard her use it several times---had even blinked an eye.

My point being....I don't think it's JUST the government or the justice system to blame but it's also or more so bad parenting. I can't imagine bringing my kids up in a home thinking it's okay to use that word....EVER.
The Civil war is well over and done with....get over it. You lost. Grow up and grow some respect.

If my kid was one of the ones that hung the nuces, hell you'd better believe I'd be wringing his or her neck and telling the justice system they needed a heavier sentence and they should have been expelled. I don't care if I'm the parent at that point, you need to learn from your choices. Same goes for the kids who teamed up on the other kid and beat him up. I agree that their sentence as "attempted murder" was probably taken to heavily, however I truely don't know the extent to the kids injuries or whats true and what's not.

Things like this happen.....and people have the audacity to ask whats wrong with American and what's wrong with our Youth?! that makes me laugh.....open your eyes people. Especially adults. these kids aren't just learning this on their own, they're watching you---all of us---parents, society, etc. They learn. They repeat.

You want it to stop, put them all on trial and try them equally.
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:55 AM   #24
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Now....you can laugh at me, but I'll admit it, I'm not totally up on my history and geography and where the North was seperated from the South in the Civil war, but I believe WV was part of the south.
WV seceded from VA in 1863, in the middle of the war, because they didn't want to be a part of the Confederacy. WV was not a slave state. WV exists today because it disagreed with VA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_West_Virginia
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:18 AM   #25
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Jena is in Louisiana, so I'm not sure why the WV reference.

It is a different culture there. But...at the same time, I think it should also be noted that Bryant didn't even know what the nooses meant...like the historical significance of them, until his mother told him after he told her they were in the tree.
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:43 PM   #26
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Jena Is America

by Gary Younge
The Nation


In the alleyway between de jure and de facto, Jim Crow conceived a son. Even though the deed took place in broad daylight, everybody tried not to notice, and in time some would even try to pretend it hadn't happened. For most of his long life, Jim Crow Sr. had been a powerful and respected man. His word was law, his laws were obeyed and those who transgressed were punished without mercy. But in his dotage these crude and brutal ways became a liability. Finally, and after some protest, he was banished. Some claimed he had died. But nobody found the body.

Junior, meanwhile, was adopted by a local family and raised with all the refinement and courtesy that his father never had. While the father had railed against the changes that ousted him, the son adapted to them. But he cultivated the same allies and pursued the same goals, and in time he too would become powerful and respected. With little use for curse words or ostentatious displays of authority, he was most effective when not drawing attention to himself.

Over the past year the small town of Jena, Louisiana, has vividly established the genealogical link between the two generations of Jim Crow. Paradoxically it has taken the symbolism of the old--complete with nooses and all-white juries--for the nation to engage with the substance of the new: the racial inequalities in America's penal and judicial systems. For what is truly shocking about Jena is not that it has happened here but that the most egregious aspects of it are happening all across America every day. Go into any courthouse in any city and you will see it playing out. Like Rodney King, Hurricane Katrina or Sean Bell, it has revealed to the rest of the country what black America already knows. "If the media wasn't watching what was going on then every last one of those kids would be in jail right now," says Tina Jones, the mother of Bryant Purvis, who was there when the recent round of trouble started.

Fittingly for a post-civil rights story, it began with the discrepancy between what you are allowed to do and what you can do. In August last year, Kenneth Purvis asked the principal at Jena High School if he could sit under the "white tree"--a place in the school courtyard where white students hung out during break. The principal said Purvis could sit where he liked. So the next day he went with his cousin Bryant and stood under the tree. The morning after that three nooses dangled from the tree. The overwhelmingly white school board judged the nooses a youthful prank and punished the culprits with brief suspensions. Black parents and students were angry, and months of racial tension followed. Police were called to the school several times because of fights between black and white students.

The principal called an assembly at which the local district attorney, Reed Walters, warned, "See this pen? I can end your lives with the stroke of a pen." The black students say he was looking at them when he said it; Walters denies it.

In an unsolved arson case, a wing of the school was burned down. A few days later, Justin Sloan, a white man, attacked black students who tried to go to a white party in town. Sloan was charged with battery and put on probation. A few days after that a white boy pulled a gun on three black students in a convenience store. One of the black students wrestled the gun from him and took it home, only to find himself charged with theft of a firearm, second-degree robbery and disturbing the peace. The white student who produced the gun was not charged.

On December 4, in school, a group of black students attacked a white student, Justin Barker, after they heard him bragging about a racial assault his friend had made. Barker, 17, had a concussion and his eye was swollen shut. He spent a few hours in the hospital and on his release went to a party, where friends described him as "his usual smiling self."

The six black students were arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder--a charge that requires the use of a deadly weapon. Walters argued that the sneakers used to kick Barker were indeed deadly weapons. Mychal Bell, 17, became the first of what are now known as the Jena Six to be convicted on reduced charges by an all-white jury, and he faced up to twenty-two years in jail. His black court-appointed attorney called no witnesses and offered no defense. Bell's conviction was overturned by an appeals court, which ruled that he shouldn't have been tried as an adult. At the time of this writing he sits in jail waiting to hear his fate, and a huge civil rights march is set to descend on Jena.

These incidents have turned Jena into a national symbol of racial injustice. As such it is both a potent emblem and a convenient whipping boy. Potent because it shines a spotlight on how race and class conspire to deny black people equality before the law. According to the Justice Department, blacks are almost three times as likely as whites to have their cars searched when they are pulled over and more than twice as likely to be arrested. They are more than five times as likely as whites to be sent to jail and are sentenced to 20 percent longer jail time. This would not be a problem for the likes of Kobe Bryant, but in Jena's "quarters" high-powered legal teams are hard to come by.

Convenient because it allows the rest of the nation to dismiss the incidents as the work of Southern redneck backwoodsmen without addressing the systemic national failures it showcases. According to the Sentencing Project, the ten states with the highest discrepancy between black and white incarceration rates include Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York and none from the South. What took place in Jena is not aberrant; it's consistent. The details are a local disgrace. The broader themes are a national scandal. Jim Crow Jr. travels well--unencumbered by historical baggage.

"Jena is America," says Alan Bean, executive director of Friends of Justice, who has been working with the Jena Six. "The new Jim Crow is the criminal justice system and its impact on poor people in general and people of color in particular. We don't always get the exotic trimmings like the nooses."
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:57 PM   #27
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When you read about the events leading up to the fight, it's completely ridiculous what went on. I guess it took a white kid getting his ass whipped to draw attention to it.

I love this part...white kid pulls a gun on some black kids, one of them wrestles the gun away and is charged with theft. Are you kidding me? Wow, if I'm ever in Jena I hope no one pulls a gun on me, if they do I'd better just let them do what they please, up to and including shooting me, or risk being charged with stealing my attacker's gun. Of course, I'm white, so I'd probably be in the clear.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:02 PM   #28
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I think it's the "and took it home" part that explains the theft charge. But that the white boy wasn't charged with aggravated assault for introducing a gun into the argument to begin with is one more symptom of the inequitable justice.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:13 PM   #29
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Originally posted by yolland
I think it's the "and took it home" part that explains the theft charge. But that the white boy wasn't charged with aggravated assault for introducing a gun into the argument to begin with is one more symptom of the inequitable justice.
I'm sure. But when you look at the series of events as a whole it really speaks to the culture down there. I wouldn't want to be a black man in Jena I don't think. The way the school, police, and DA handled the various incidents screams racism. It's not even the type of insidious racism that I expect in 21st century America; this is blatant in-your-face racism.

That DA sounds like a real piece of work...
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:26 PM   #30
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I think Reed Walters is a racist, no question, and that goes for the Jena school board superintendent and several of the police involved in the various events preceding the "Jena 6 incident" as well. And there is some debate out there as to whether a Title VI charge of intentional discrimination might be successfully pursued against them, not (in Walters' case) on account of the "stroke of a pen" speech but on the grounds of a clear pattern of deliberately inequitable treatment before the law. In some ways that would be the most desirable outcome of all because then it might force DAs all over the country, not just in Jena, to confront the pattern of inequitable sentencing along race and class lines that prevails pretty much everywhere.
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:59 PM   #31
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If justice was to be done, no one would be rallying to 'free' six guys who viciously attacked another guy. Regardless of what he did, that is not okay. Two wrongs don't make it right. When Rodney King was beaten by police, people said no matter what he did, there was no excuse for five guys teaming up and beating one. Same goes for the Jena 6. Activists are calling it a 'fight', but six on one with one on the ground is not a fight but a beating in the Rodney King style. By taking this action the Jena 6 degraded themselves to the level of a lynch mob! So they became what they were against.

I noticed the evening news only said 'violence' broke out but never mentioned in so many words that the six 'vicitimized' black boys severely beat one white boy. I guess they were afraid of being called racist. Assuming the white boy did hang the nooses, and assuming he is an asshole, this does not excuse the actions of the Jena 6. If it was okay to beat people up for being a jerk I'm sure we all have someone we'd like to attack.

The charges have already been reduced, but these boys do not deserve to be made the victims and martyrs the nationwide crusade is turning them into. Jesse Jackson said 'get the boys out of jail and back in school.' Is this fair to other kids, black and white, sitting in jail or juvenile hall for similar crimes? They should do time for malicious wounding. If it's proven who hung the nooses, that person should be punished according to the law but not with a physical beating.
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Old 09-20-2007, 07:44 PM   #32
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I haven't seen anyone rallying to free them, just for a fair charge.
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Old 09-20-2007, 07:55 PM   #33
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Originally posted by yolland
If the Jena school board had taken that more seriously, expelled those white students as the principal orginally recommended, perhaps had them charged and sentenced to community service, met with the black students and parents when they wanted to talk last September, and definitely not blown it off as a harmless "prank," then quite likely the next several months would have unfolded very differently.
Toilet-papering the tree would've been a prank. Hanging nooses in the tree is a blatant threat. The kids who did that should've been punished.

The school board totally blew it. Then the DA shoots off his mouth. And now it's all blown up in their faces...frankly, I'm surprised it didn't end up much worse.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:04 PM   #34
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Originally posted by Butterscotch
If justice was to be done, no one would be rallying to 'free' six guys who viciously attacked another guy. Regardless of what he did, that is not okay. Two wrongs don't make it right. When Rodney King was beaten by police, people said no matter what he did, there was no excuse for five guys teaming up and beating one. Same goes for the Jena 6. Activists are calling it a 'fight', but six on one with one on the ground is not a fight but a beating in the Rodney King style. By taking this action the Jena 6 degraded themselves to the level of a lynch mob! So they became what they were against.

I noticed the evening news only said 'violence' broke out but never mentioned in so many words that the six 'vicitimized' black boys severely beat one white boy. I guess they were afraid of being called racist. Assuming the white boy did hang the nooses, and assuming he is an asshole, this does not excuse the actions of the Jena 6. If it was okay to beat people up for being a jerk I'm sure we all have someone we'd like to attack.

The charges have already been reduced, but these boys do not deserve to be made the victims and martyrs the nationwide crusade is turning them into. Jesse Jackson said 'get the boys out of jail and back in school.' Is this fair to other kids, black and white, sitting in jail or juvenile hall for similar crimes? They should do time for malicious wounding. If it's proven who hung the nooses, that person should be punished according to the law but not with a physical beating.
This is a very good post. It sums up my thoughts exactly.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:08 PM   #35
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This is a very good post. It sums up my thoughts exactly.
Except the post is full of misconceptions...
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:14 PM   #36
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I haven't seen anyone rallying to free them, just for a fair charge.
Well, the news was full of protestors chanting "Free the Jena 6," so I'm sure a lot of people do want them freed.

Try them for the crime committed, and try the white kids too. But I'm all for having the charges and sentences doled out fairly, to all involved.

A noose is a prank, and a fight is attempted murder? That's the unfairness of it.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:16 PM   #37
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Originally posted by Butterscotch
If justice was to be done, no one would be rallying to 'free' six guys who viciously attacked another guy. Regardless of what he did, that is not okay. Two wrongs don't make it right. When Rodney King was beaten by police, people said no matter what he did, there was no excuse for five guys teaming up and beating one. Same goes for the Jena 6. Activists are calling it a 'fight', but six on one with one on the ground is not a fight but a beating in the Rodney King style. By taking this action the Jena 6 degraded themselves to the level of a lynch mob! So they became what they were against.

I noticed the evening news only said 'violence' broke out but never mentioned in so many words that the six 'vicitimized' black boys severely beat one white boy. I guess they were afraid of being called racist. Assuming the white boy did hang the nooses, and assuming he is an asshole, this does not excuse the actions of the Jena 6. If it was okay to beat people up for being a jerk I'm sure we all have someone we'd like to attack.

The charges have already been reduced, but these boys do not deserve to be made the victims and martyrs the nationwide crusade is turning them into. Jesse Jackson said 'get the boys out of jail and back in school.' Is this fair to other kids, black and white, sitting in jail or juvenile hall for similar crimes? They should do time for malicious wounding. If it's proven who hung the nooses, that person should be punished according to the law but not with a physical beating.
I think people are more outraged about the problems leading up to it: the poor handling by the school, the poor handling by the DA, the terrible actions of the white kids involved, etc. But there's definitely reason to be mad about the charges too.

There had been other fights before this, yet this was the only one that led to charges anywhere near the magnitude. They're absolutely excessive in comparison. When was the last time you heard of a kid getting 10 months for a schoolyard fight?

Now, all I know about this came from a discussion in my social studies class, but from what I understand, the victim here was released from the hospital that day, and was not severely injured. Also, from what I understand, the reason that their charges were so large were because the used a shoe as a technicality to make it attempted murder.

Correct me if I'm wrong on any of this, please, for I don't want to make statements that aren't correct. However, from the information I've gotten, there's serious issues with the whole situation from start to end, and a lot of people deserve to be facing scrutiny for their actions here.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:35 PM   #38
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Well, the news was full of protestors chanting "Free the Jena 6," so I'm sure a lot of people do want them freed.

Try them for the crime committed, and try the white kids too. But I'm all for having the charges and sentences doled out fairly, to all involved.

A noose is a prank, and a fight is attempted murder? That's the unfairness of it.
Well what I meant is I don't think anyone wants the free from any charge...
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:51 PM   #39
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gotcha.
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:14 PM   #40
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Originally posted by Butterscotch
If justice was to be done, no one would be rallying to 'free' six guys who viciously attacked another guy. Regardless of what he did, that is not okay. Two wrongs don't make it right. When Rodney King was beaten by police, people said no matter what he did, there was no excuse for five guys teaming up and beating one. Same goes for the Jena 6. Activists are calling it a 'fight', but six on one with one on the ground is not a fight but a beating in the Rodney King style. By taking this action the Jena 6 degraded themselves to the level of a lynch mob! So they became what they were against.

I noticed the evening news only said 'violence' broke out but never mentioned in so many words that the six 'vicitimized' black boys severely beat one white boy. I guess they were afraid of being called racist. Assuming the white boy did hang the nooses, and assuming he is an asshole, this does not excuse the actions of the Jena 6. If it was okay to beat people up for being a jerk I'm sure we all have someone we'd like to attack.

The charges have already been reduced, but these boys do not deserve to be made the victims and martyrs the nationwide crusade is turning them into. Jesse Jackson said 'get the boys out of jail and back in school.' Is this fair to other kids, black and white, sitting in jail or juvenile hall for similar crimes? They should do time for malicious wounding. If it's proven who hung the nooses, that person should be punished according to the law but not with a physical beating.
How come you aren't throwing a fit for the black student that was beaten up for going to an all-white party? Don't you think those kids should've been charged? Doesn't it bother you at all that not a single white person has been charged in any of these series of events? And a 3-day suspension doesn't even come close.
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