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 Article Written on: Friday-September-21-2007 BuzzBoards Calendar Contact Advertise About
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Jena Six Timeline


Written by: Elaine McKewon


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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.




 

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Comments from BayouBuzz readers

I'm disappointed in what I'm reading. All of this arguing is not helping the community of Jena, Louisiana. A community that consist of all races. Lets work together to find a solution and not be part of the problem.
Written by Disappointed on 10/8/2007

Kheard I agree unfortunately racism does exist. It exists in part because of attitudes from individuals, like you, with racist attitudes and intolerant tendencies like yourself. African Americans also have racist attitudes and it fuels the fire and does not solve the problem. Individuals like yourself will not consider reality but instead see racism as a way to obtain power at the expense of other. It also appears of you cannot obtain that way you resort to threats of violence and profanity. It is actually quite childish on your part. To everyone reading I reject all racism white, black or any other kind. This type of behavior does not intimidate me and I actually feel sorry for you. By the way, you may want to obtain some anger management.
Written by Biggie Smalls on 10/3/2007

GET A F_______ life and let the shit go. Race issues exsist in this country today. What a damn shame
Written by kheard on 10/3/2007

LPatterson, ouy asked for a efw examples. I did a quick Google search and found a few instances where whites were punished more harshly than a minority. Our findings suggest the existence of something like a White-crime type and an American Indian-crime type, where Whites are punished more harshly for their crimes and American Indians are punished more for theirs. http://www.state.sd.us/governor/sdcjreport/arresttotrial.htm ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ A proportion of studies find that whites are punished more harshly than minorities (Bernstein, Kelly, and Doyle 1977; Feimer, Pommersheim, and Wise 1990; Myers and Talarico 1986; Peterson and Hagan 1984). Myers and Talarico state: “… found…..that in counties with large black populations (25% to 49%) white offenders were punished more harshly than blacks. Thus, Myers and Talarico found no evidence to support the threat hypothesis or the power-threat thesis. Crawford, Chiricos and Kleck (1998).
Written by Biggie Smalls on 9/30/2007

LPatterson The act was cowardly; I cannot state it any other way. Yes there are others who commit cowardly acts such as the KKK wearing a hood and attacking an unknowing and unsuspecting person. Both acts are cowardly just in slightly different ways. The Jena 6, in my opinion committed an act that is as cowardly as a suicide bomber. I abhor all racism-black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc. Do you abhor all racism or just that which effects the African American community? Would stand up this way if the teens were Puerto Rican, White, Asian or Jewish? If you can you link me to any post where you supported the Duke boys then I will apologize. Honestly have you ever protested the fact that Jessie Jackson called New York Hymie Town? I doubt it. America will only be whole when all races apply civil rights equally to all people and not just members of their own race. Perhaps there will come a day when African Americans will march for pure justice as they should have done in the Duke case. Dr. King would have marched on their behalf. Have you even written a letter to the Duke University president saying their conduct was reprehensible and flew straight in the face of civil rights? Will you admit it right now that the treatment of the Duke boys was wrong? It is a yes or no question. Do you believe that the Jena 6 need to punished? It is a yes or no question. If yes, then please tell me what you believe an appropriate punishment would entail? We can then have a civil and intelligent conversation. If you say no then you should carefully look at your motives and be honest as you have to been by saying you favor the black teens because you are black. That my friend is racism. Hymie is a deragotory term for a jew. Jesse Jackson in his 1984 presidential campaigne calls New York City "Hymie Town" to refer to the city's Jews in an off record conversation with Milton Coleman.
Written by Biggie Smalls on 9/30/2007

I have read all of the comments below and I just wanted to say something. Violence is not all, all African Americans know. Sometimes the way people are is because of how they were brought up. Some people do have to fight all their life to be heard or to make it in the world. (I just hate that most don't fight with knowledge.)And to who ever said they (the blacks) were cowards really needs to check themself, those blacks didn't cover their faces! The KKK is the actions of a coward. They commit crimes and no one can be blamed because they have on hoods! What happened in Louisiana was not justice at all. I saw someone write that the white boy got beat up old school. He got beat up, thats all that happened, he is fine, he may have got knocked out but that kid gets to live the rest of his life in peace I hope. Those black kids did what they felt they could do because no one was listening to them. It clearly says that they tried to confront the school board and was DISMISSED BECAUSE THE BOARD FELT THE ISSUE WAS RESOLVED? How could they know the situation was resolved when they were not going through what the black kids went through? I am not going to lie and say I am not taking up for the black kids because I am! I wish that you people would just get over the racism! There are more important things one could be doing with their time. I know this won't change a thing, but hear me out white people. IF your kid was involved in a jumping that a black kid was hurt but later felt okay enough to go out, or even live for that matter with nothing more than a headache. You wouldn't want your kid to go to jail for 22 years for that. If this is not based on race, please direct me where I can find any case that is similar to this one where the kid got tried as an adult and convicted to 22 years in prison?
Written by LPatterson on 9/29/2007

Making up injustices where none exist do not serve the purpose of Dr. King. They may serve the purposes of Jackson and Sharpton but I find it hard to believe that Jackson and Sharpton stand for even a small part black America. Finally, there were 15,000 African Americans marching out of African American population approximately 40 million. The newspaper would have you believe that .0375% (or 3 one hundredths of one percent) of the African American population led by Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson represent all of black America. (Feel free to check my math I do not claim to be a mathematician). Nonetheless saying Black America supports the Jena six based on a march of 15,000 is ludicrous to say the least. Do not stereotype African Americans this way.
Written by Biggie Smalls on 9/28/2007

This was a true racial crime! If it happened the other way around the black community would be furious if white people protested. The black community would also want all invovled to be tried as auldts!!!!
Written by onlyme00 on 9/27/2007

Kheard must have not heard about the Ruston LA famous Peach Cobbler
Written by Kheard never heard on 9/26/2007

Ruston LA ain’t you all famous for peach cobblers not butt whippings…
Written by Peaches on 9/26/2007

Thank you for making my point about violence. If you don't like what someone says you threaten violence. Actually you remind me a lot of the KKK members. Look in the mirror buddy you might have more in common with the KKK than you think. Personally I am sickened all racists white, black Asian, Hispanic or etc. All of the racists are exactly the same. How do you know that I don’t know anything about Vick and OJ? BTW I guess it is racism that caused Vick to violate his probation. Already on the way to prison and had to get high one more time. 6 feet under..oh I am so scared..thanks for giving me a good laugh. Well if you intend on kicking my butt you better get five more friends and wait for me to turn my back. Actually you might want to get some anger management so you don’t end up in jail and shame on your racist and violent attitude. =)
Written by Biggie Smalls on 9/26/2007

k.heard Thank you for making my point about violence. If you don't like what someone says you threaten violence. Actually you remind me a lot of the KKK members. Look in the mirror buddy you might have more in common with the KKK than you think. Personally I am sickened all racists white, black Asian, Hispanic or etc. All of the racists are exactly the same. How do you know that I don’t know anything about Vick and OJ? BTW I guess it is racism that caused Vick to violate his probation. Already on the way to prison and had to get high one more time. 6 feet under..oh I am so scared..thanks for giving me a good laugh. Punks don't scare me. Well if you intend on kicking my butt you better get five more friends and wait for me to turn my back. Actually you might want to get some anger management so you don’t end up in jail and shame on your racist and violent attitude. =)
Written by Biggie Smalls on 9/26/2007

This is for biggie. You clearly are a rascist a-hole taht does not know he is talking about. Again there you go speculating about the oj and micheal vick trial. who are you to judge people when you dont know them. my advice to you, is to whatch who who you put your tongue on, or you to could be beaten, if you are not carefull mayby six feet under. think about it. We dont play that in Ruston La,.Why dont you pay us a visit.
Written by k.heard on 9/25/2007

This was a hate crime and yet the African American community asks us to treat the assailants as victims. Does the African American community realize how much they are destroying any credibility? Maybe they should protest for OJ and Mike Vick next. BTW acceptance of dog fighting and spouse murdering leads to these types of anti-social behavior being deemed acceptable. This was a beat down where a young man who did not say any racial epithet and was likely gay was beat down 6 to 1-old school style. I notice they did not jump one of the bigger kids (who actually were involved in the noose hanging) because they are the lowest form of cowards and deserve incarceration. Face it these young men are thugs and will group up using 6 to 1 odds and attack white children again and again. I am not too surprised that 20,000 African Americans are trying to bully the justice system. I hope the readers do miss the irony here. These boys and the protestors are cowards who are now using numbers against the judicial system just like it took 6 of them to take one young man down (from behind I might add). They were brought up to hate white people because of their race. Shame on them and their supporters. If this is about justice and civil rights then where were the protestors when the Duke Boys were being railroaded and why aren’t the protesting the Duke Gang of 88????
Written by Biggie on 9/22/2007

The cited Wikipedia entry section "Barker's injuries" contains this line I feel belongs in the "timeline" along with attending a school funcrtion the night of the attack. QUOTE He then attended his school's Ring ceremony that evening,[9] though he later testified, "I waited 11 years to go to it. I wasn't going to let that get in my way," and that he ended up leaving early due to pain.[20] UNQUOTE
Written by Kelly Haggar on 9/22/2007

We understand that Mr. Bell has been denied bail even as a juvenile. We commend the courts and others who stick to the law in every case regardless of the pressures that may be applied or the marches of thousands. It is time to make people realize that justice is demanded and justice will be given. This is not racism. This is the reality of life that must be enforced. By the way Mr. Jourdan in New Orleans might learn something relative to racism from the judges in the appellate court instead of wasting the citizens' taxes.
Written by RhettsWife on 9/21/2007





 

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