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Old 09-15-2007, 05:54 PM   #1
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** The first 12 posts below were split off from the 'West Virginia Torture Horror' thread after a separate Jena 6 thread was created. The 13th post (Varitek's) was originally the first post of this thread. ~y. **



The article you posted shows obvious bias in their favor. I can't find the original stories now, but it went something like this. There was a group of white kids who hung out under a tree at school and the black kids asked the principal if they could hang out there and were told yes. The next day they hung out there and the white kids did nothing, but the day after, nooses appeared in the tree. The black kids took it as a threat and when no one found out who did it, they suspected this one white guy did it, and six black kids attacked him, beat him and repeatedly kicked him. He had multiple body and head injuries and blood clots in his eyes and ears. The black kids were charged- I originally heard it was hate crimes- and then all this broke out about defending them. I know it was a terrible thing for the white guy to hang nooses in the tree, but by ganging up and attacking him, the jena 6 put themselves in the same category as a lynch mob. Regardless of the circumstances, it's not okay for six people to beat one person senseless any more than it was okay for six whites to hurt that black girl, and it was not okay for those five cops to gang up on Rodney King. But the Jena 6 are not innocent victims. They maliciously wounded a dude and while the punishment should fit the crime they should pay for it and not be held as martyrs.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:02 PM   #2
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okay, the issue with the Jena 6 is that they were charged with CONSPIRACY and ATTEMPTED MURDER for an EFFING SCHOOLFIGHT. This has nothing to do with guilt or whether or not it is okay for them to do that. It has to do with how the (in)justice system shits all over minorities. These 6 boys get life in prison for ATTEMPTED MURDER for a SCHOOL FIGHT and these 6 in WV are charged with felonies. The inequality here is the gravity of the charges being brought forth. If it were 6 black people beating the shit out of, raping, and torturing a white girl, you better believe they'd be facing something like Attempted Murder or worse charges.

nobody is making martyrs out of them, and they never denied getting into the fight.

also i hadn't heard about clots in the eyes. the official report is that he suffered a concussion and multiple bruises.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:10 PM   #3
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Wasn't there something in the Jena 6 case about one of the white students doing something violent to one of the black students, and was charged with something more minor, and yet the black student was charged with attempted murder?

I may be misremembering, but I thought that was part of the story as well.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:14 PM   #4
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you're probably right. he isn't serving time. and i wonder why he was not charged with conspiracy and the jena 6 were.

there were 3 white students that were accused of being responsible for the nooses. the superintendent dismissed it as "a prank" and the students were suspended for 3 days and then came back.

oh and lets not forget about the protest that the black students initiated a few days after the nooses were hung. ALL they did was sit under a tree. that's it. and the school decided to call in the police and the district attorney. remember what the DA said to those KIDS who were just SITTING under a tree? "I can end your lives with the stroke of a pen"

again, this has nothing to do with whether or not the 6 got into a fight and beat the white student. it is about how unfair this justice system is here in this country and how racism is still alive and well, and carried out by law.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:19 PM   #5
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That's what the big stink was about, I thought. I thought I read that the violence perpetrated by the black student was in retaliation of what was done to them by the white student. All, of course, in response to the nooses. Violence is violence and should not occur at all, but why would one be charged with attempted murder for a schoolyard fight, and the other isn't?

Well, and the big stink of sheer disbelief to hear the townspeople shrug off the nooses as not a big deal and a harmless prank.

Anyway.
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Old 09-16-2007, 03:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch
I can't find the original stories now, but it went something like this. There was a group of white kids who hung out under a tree at school and the black kids asked the principal if they could hang out there and were told yes. The next day they hung out there and the white kids did nothing, but the day after, nooses appeared in the tree. The black kids took it as a threat and when no one found out who did it, they suspected this one white guy did it, and six black kids attacked him, beat him and repeatedly kicked him. He had multiple body and head injuries and blood clots in his eyes and ears. The black kids were charged- I originally heard it was hate crimes- and then all this broke out about defending them.
Your trajectory of events here is pretty far off.

The school knew exactly who the three (white) students who hung the nooses were, but no charges were filed against them (despite the fact that that did qualify for federal hate crime charges). Following several days of heightened tensions, including both white-on-black and black-on-white student scuffles, the school convened an assembly featuring the local DA, whose idea of soothing tensions was to tell the students that if they didn't stop "fussing" about this "innocent prank" then "I can end your lives with the stroke of a pen." The school board refused to hear any further complaints from black students and their families.

A couple months later, one of the Jena 6 defendants (Robert Bailey) and some black friends tried to attend a mostly-white, private student party; they were turned away and a nonstudent white partygoer jumped Bailey outside, instigating a fight (the white man was eventually charged with misdemeanor battery and sentenced to probation). The actual "Jena 6 incident" occurred a few days later, when Bailey and five friends knocked down and kicked around a white student who had been loudly gloating in the hallway about Bailey getting beaten at that party. The student received a minor concussion and facial bruises, and went on to attend a school event that evening--so he clearly was not seriously injured (he did indeed have a blood clot in one eye, which is a common and nonserious side effect of concussion).

I haven't read or heard anything about the Jena 6 ever being charged with a "hate crime," and I can't imagine how they could be--the precipitating factor was clearly Bailey's anger at the white student's gloating about his getting beaten up. They were, however, initially charged with attempted second-degree murder, which was finally reduced last June, before the first of them went to trial, to aggravated second-degree battery (under LA law "perpetration of cruelty to juveniles" resulting in death, intentionally or not, can count as second-degree murder, and the DA applied that reasoning, even though the LA definition of "cruelty to juveniles" was clearly inappropriate for the situation and the application of "attempted" to that definition questionable at best). However, aggravated second-degree battery is still a felony carrying a penalty of up to 15 years in prison (+ up to 7.5. years for conspiracy to commit it, in this case), since it involves a "deadly weapon" (as mentioned earlier, here the DA used the novel argument that the boys' tennis shoes qualified as "deadly weapons"). So what should have been, at most, a second-degree misdemeanor battery charge carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison (and in practice, few serve time for that charge) ballooned into charges that could have meant 50 years, and still may mean more than 20.
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I know it was a terrible thing for the white guy to hang nooses in the tree, but by ganging up and attacking him, the jena 6 put themselves in the same category as a lynch mob.
Generally "lynch mob" implies a wee bit more than knocking someone down and kicking them in the head a few times.
Quote:
Originally posted by dazzlingamy
I mean nooses in a tree is wrong, and offensive, but its not relevent in this day and age - they did it to get a rise, and they got one, the 6 boys played right into their hands. If they had done something else - mocked them back, or held their heads high and not let it get to them - i think it sends a stronger message.
I actually don't think the connection between the two incidents was that direct--it was more that the noose incident gave rise to a generally heightened climate of racial tension, and the "Jena 6 incident" a couple months later falls into that context. (There were various other incidents I didn't mention earlier, too...an as-yet-unsolved arson attack on the school; an incident involving some black students wresting away, than driving off with the gun of a white student who'd run to grab it from his truck after getting into an altercation with them--they were charged with theft and "disturbing the peace," while he was charged with nothing...etc. etc.)

I can't agree with you about "not relevant in this day and age," though...there are still plenty of places in the Deep South where everyone knows at least somebody whose great-uncle or other such fairly close relative was lynched, and within many black grandparents' memories, the Klan retained great local power to threaten and bully African-Americans into political silence. Racial relations in so many small Southern towns are still saturated in the aftermath of all that, and while probably no one thought literal violent intent was signaled by the nooses, shit like that still sends a profoundly disturbing message that 'You are only welcome here so long as we tolerate it, so know your place and best not push your luck n-----'. 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.
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Old 09-16-2007, 03:53 AM   #7
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thanks yolland - i understand a lot more. I was going on what butterscotch had said, but as usual there are more then one shade to the truth!
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Old 09-16-2007, 06:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch
The article you posted shows obvious bias in their favor.
You're right, that was a somewhat biased account...I didn't cherrypick it, I swear. I googled "Jena 6" looking for a summary of the events leading up to it and that was the first one I found.

Quote:
Originally posted by unico

there were 3 white students that were accused of being responsible for the nooses. the superintendent dismissed it as "a prank" and the students were suspended for 3 days and then came back.
See, that's the part that gets me. If the response to the noose thing was severe enough maybe the whole thing ends there...maybe not of course, but possibly. Instead the white students are given a slap on the wrist and resentment & tension grows.

Quote:
i'm still unsure whether i believe this WV crime was a hate crime myself
You may be right...I think it is to a degree but I don't think these depraved individuals would hesitate before doing the exact same to a white woman if they could lure her into their grasp.
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:39 AM   #9
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thanks for clarifying yolland.
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:15 AM   #10
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Ditto that. I'm glad to know I wasn't quite misremembering the chain of events.
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Old 09-16-2007, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by unico
These 6 boys get life in prison for ATTEMPTED MURDER for a SCHOOL FIGHT
A 'schoolyard fight' is one on one, maybe even two on one, but SIX violently kicking one guy in the head? I wouldn't really call it 'attempted murder' but it's not just a 'schoolyard fight' either, especially when there is no 'fight' since one cannot fight back. Even if they didn't intend to kill him, you have to consider this may be a result if six people attack one and beat them harshly. (I feel the same way regardless of who is the beater or the beaten- I take up for Rodney King over the cops in that case)
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Old 09-16-2007, 03:06 PM   #12
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Attempted murder is harsh. To me, it sounds more like aggravated assault, which isn't all that much better in our jurisdiction (liable for up to 14 years imprisonment).
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Old 09-16-2007, 03:45 PM   #13
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^ In Louisiana, battery (they subsume assault under battery, defining it as the threat of force, not the act) is only "aggravated" if committed with a deadly weapon--the boys' shoes in this case, according to the DA. Otherwise, it's a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison (simple battery), or 5 years if second-degree ("when the offender intentionally inflicts serious bodily injury") as was, controversially, argued in this case.

ETA: As far as the separate conspiracy charge, I'm not sure how that would affect sentencing with non-aggravated battery. In the case of the present charge (aggravated second-degree battery) it can add up to 7.5 years, at least to judge from the stated maximum sentences. That is half the maximum for aggravated second-degree battery, so perhaps that's the guideline?
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Old 09-19-2007, 03:15 AM   #14
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The Jena 6: Jim Crow lives

I haven't been on FYM/Interference lately but I checked back a few pages and didn't see a thread on the Jena 6. Some background, taken from a facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2401078105

Quote:
Jena, LA is a small town that is 85% White where racial tensions still run deep. After several African-American students chose to sit under a tree where Whites normally sit, nooses in the school’s colors were hung under the tree the following day on school grounds. Much of the white community dismissed it as a “prank”. In following weeks, tension grew and several other small confrontations ensued. Recently, six African-American teenagers have been charged with attempted murder for allegedly knocking a white student unconscious during a fight. Prior to this attack, where the victim was unable to identity his attacker/s, school fights resulted in a 3-day suspension and NOT attempted murder charges. One of the boy’s cases was heard in front of an all White jury after the public defender did not oblige the parents’ request for a change of venue. Nor did the PD present a single witness in defense of the first boy. The injustices don’t stop there. We must ask ourselves what we already know; would things be different if the victim was not White and the alleged attackers African-American? Is this justice?!
I'm sure there's a better description out there but I don't know of one off the top of my head.

(Edit: this is it, please check out http://www.colorofchange.org/jena/ )

This really enrages me, boggles my mind that in this day and age this is still happening - but then I'm sheltered by living in the North East coast liberal urban areas.

Tomorrow, Sept 20, college students and others will be wearing black in support of the Jena 6. Although I normally don't like symbolic gestures that aren't backed by more substantial action, I'm going to do this. Apparently upwards of 1 million college students will be participating.
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:23 PM   #15
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I need to read more about this, apparently there will be a show about it tonight on CNN. Nooses are not "pranks", what is wrong with some people?

I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen That is chilling-how can a DA be allowed to get away with that?
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:37 PM   #16
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there is a bit of discussion going on in the WV torture thread. but i think this issue deserves its own. i too am surprised the DA wasn't charged with anything. i'm rather suspicious that he threatens the lives of the group of black students, and then the 6 boys get charged.

i can't believe that kid has been in jail for 10 months now. it is a damn shame.
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Old 09-19-2007, 03:54 PM   #17
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While I have nothing kind to say about the DA in this case, I don't see where there would be grounds for charging him with a crime--he was summoned to address an all-school assembly following several days of interracial fights subsequent to the noose incident, during which the police had been called to the school several times. Whether or not he looked directly at the black students while delivering his "stroke of a pen" remarks and as such could be said to have implicitly aimed his remarks at them is not provable (some students felt that was the case, some didn't) and it is not true, as some earlier news stories and blogs reported, that he came to address black students only following a sit-in beneath the "white tree" (the school has no record of such an event, and school officials have stated they recall nothing of the sort; there were enough student "eyewitnesses" to conclude it likely did happen, but probably it was something small and non-official in nature). I do find it odd that the school chose to summon a DA rather than, say, the mayor to address the assembly, and his idea of how to soothe tensions was idiotic regardless of who his remarks were or weren't implicitly addressed to, but I can't imagine what the grounds for criminal charges would be. The actual "Jena 6 incident" was three months and numerous other in-school scuffles later.

Also, while I'm sympathetic emotionally to the argument that "Prior to this attack...school fights resulted in a 3-day suspension and NOT attempted murder charges," legally that's probably irrelevant--it's not the school pursuing these charges; it's the prosecution and their clients, the white student and his parents, and while the charges in question are outrageously harsh, they're certainly within their rights to pursue charges as far as it goes. That the case should have been tried elsewhere is a reasonable argument, and yes, Mychal Bell's first public defender (who was black) was a joke--reportedly he was angry at Bell for not having accepted a plea bargain once the charges were reduced to aggravated second-degree battery, and so "punished" him by sitting there like a log in court. (Bell, whose conviction was overturned last week on grounds that he was improperly tried as an adult, now has a new defense team; however, the possibility that he could be retried for the same charges as a juvenile remains, as do the aggravated second-degree battery charges against the other five.)
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:03 AM   #18
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I'm sure there will be lots of news stories about the march by the end of the day tomorrow, but anyhow here's a preview.
Quote:
Tiny Jena braces for a day of protest

By CINDY GEORGE
Houston Chronicle, Sept. 20


JENA, La. — For all intents and purposes, this small Louisiana town is closed today. So too are its schools, businesses, and courthouse clerk's office. A downtown car dealership has moved its inventory elsewhere. To many of the 3000 who live here, there's no use in trying to conduct normal affairs on an all-but-normal day.

Upward of 20,000 people are expected in the town today, and they're not coming to sample its rural, central Louisiana charms. In an event reminiscent of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, people across the nation are boarding buses and traveling through the night to protest what they see as an egregious example of racial injustice. Six black teens — known nationally now as the Jena 6 — are facing serious criminal charges in the schoolyard beating last December of a white classmate, following an incident that occurred in the shade of a large tree at Jena High School, a spot traditionally reserved for whites.

A black student decided to sit under the tree, and days later, three nooses were found hanging from its ample branches. Angered not only that school officials deemed the nooses a prank, protesters say officials also initially charged the black students with attempted murder for an offense that historically earned only a three-day suspension.

The case gained national attention through black radio, newspapers, e-mail and Internet sites, and intensified this summer after Mychal Bell, 17, a star football player at Jena High, was convicted by an all-white jury. The Louisiana Supreme Court overturned that verdict last week. The march was to coincide with Bell's sentencing.
.................................................................
A taste of the national spotlight hit Wednesday morning, as television cameras and reporters descended on the LaSalle Parish courthouse in downtown Jena. Sharpton arrived around noon to meet with Bell, then held a news conference. Barker appeared in the afternoon before reporters with LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed Walters, who is white.

For Jena residents, it is surreal to watch what's happening around the corner on national television. Darlea Johnson, 48, who is white, said she resents media reports that paint her hometown as a place prejudiced against blacks. "It's a good place. When they're calling Jena racist, they're calling me that — and that's not fair," Johnson said.

Reporters were in town all week to document a blip in the town's history that may turn Jena itself into a symbol of injustice, akin to Money, Miss., in the 1950s and Selma, Ala., in the '60s.

Residents are overwhelmed. Fast-food restaurants and other businesses that remained open in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina will be closed. But it might not matter much. One of the strategies of the protest was to avoid rewarding Jena in any way, which means not buying food, gas or lodging there.

"I think people are just worried about a lot of damage being done and that Jena is being given a black eye, and it really doesn't deserve it," said Guy Campbell, 59, a white Jena native and retired social worker. "Hopefully the bad whites will stay home and the bad blacks will stay home and the demonstration will be what it's supposed to be."

People interviewed, of both races, agreed that school fights causing a range of injuries are not usually punished as serious crimes. And no one has condoned Barker's beating. Blacks interviewed said the charges were brought because the victim was white and the alleged assailants were black. Whites would not make such pronouncements.

"The charges were overdone for a simple schoolyard fight," said Louis McCoy, an oil field roustabout and cousin to accused attacker Theodore Shaw. But McCoy, who is black, said some question whether the Jena 6 should be held up as emblems of persecution, given that at least Bell, Bailey, Shaw and Jones have previous juvenile criminal histories. Last April, Bell was placed on probation in juvenile court for an unrelated simple battery charge. "A lot of the black people in Jena did not get behind them because of the things they have done before this happened," McCoy, 47, said of the six.

The nooses, symbols of racial intimidation, were dismissed as indiscretions and not pursued as hate crimes. Court records show that skirmishes between whites and blacks prior to the December 2006 fight were resolved by school suspensions or simple battery charges. "This is about unequal justice. This is about the white students that got away with crimes and weren't prosecuted," said Bell's father, Marcus Jones, 35. "In the court system, blacks are being treated worse than white people doing the same crime."

Calls to Walters, the prosecutor, and to Barker's home were not returned.

At his July trial, Bell faced an all-white jury because blacks called to jury duty did not show up, Bell's new lawyers said in court filings. The legal team is seeking a new trial because "an insufficient effort was made to obtain the attendance of potential jurors who did not appear."

Jena, the parish seat, is a town of contrasts between black and white. It sits at the center of long, winding rural roads. Its downtown has a village feel, with the parish courthouse, Jena Town Hall, the police station, shops, banks and a cluster of gas stations and fast-food restaurants. Predominantly white areas around Jena High and near downtown run the gamut from brick-ranch homes with sprawling lawns to stuffy trailer parks on asphalt-paved streets. Mostly white North Jena is known as "Snob Hill." The black areas are a haphazard collection of modest houses and mobile homes just outside the city limits along gravel roads and dirt alleys. The 350 blacks in Jena have little political power.

Around town, black and white youth mingled together in yards and rode together in cars. Beau Jones, 16, a white football player who said he is Bell's friend, said there is no racism at Jena High. "I want the best for him," Jones said. "He's done way too much time already."

Aaron Dozier, a 21-year-old black college student, said most of his friends at Jena High were white. He said the racial tensions are real even if others won't admit it. "When you get punished, you need to get punished the right way, not try to ruin somebody's life because of their race," Dozier said.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
While I have nothing kind to say about the DA in this case, I don't see where there would be grounds for charging him with a crime--he was summoned to address an all-school assembly following several days of interracial fights subsequent to the noose incident, during which the police had been called to the school several times. Whether or not he looked directly at the black students while delivering his "stroke of a pen" remarks and as such could be said to have implicitly aimed his remarks at them is not provable (some students felt that was the case, some didn't) and it is not true, as some earlier news stories and blogs reported, that he came to address black students only following a sit-in beneath the "white tree" (the school has no record of such an event, and school officials have stated they recall nothing of the sort; there were enough student "eyewitnesses" to conclude it likely did happen, but probably it was something small and non-official in nature). I do find it odd that the school chose to summon a DA rather than, say, the mayor to address the assembly, and his idea of how to soothe tensions was idiotic regardless of who his remarks were or weren't implicitly addressed to, but I can't imagine what the grounds for criminal charges would be. The actual "Jena 6 incident" was three months and numerous other in-school scuffles later.
you're right...perhaps he can't be charged with a crime. however i do find it suspicious that he threatens the lives of the black students, and then the Jena 6 are charged with attempted murder. and as far as i know, yesterday was the first time i've heard him speak publicly about the issue. i guess what i meant to say is that the DA himself should be held accountable for his threat. as a resident i'd be pretty upset of i found out the DA came in to a school and threatened the lives of kids.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:36 AM   #20
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Originally posted by unico


you're right...perhaps he can't be charged with a crime. however i do find it suspicious that he threatens the lives of the black students, and then the Jena 6 are charged with attempted murder.
But that's an inference that you've made; a reasonable person could have probably concluded the opposite.

(Not that you're not reasonable, lol, I just mean that you could equally as reasonably come to the opposite conclusion.)
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