Friday, March 2, 2012

Jena 6 Update: Where's the freaking media??

Do you remember reading or hearing about the Jena 6? If not, in a nutshell: six black teenagers convicted in the beating of Justin Barker, a white student at Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana on December 4, 2006. Barker was injured in the assault and received treatment for his injuries at an emergency room. While the case was pending, it was often cited as an example of racial injustice in the United States, due to a belief that the defendants had initially been charged with too-serious offenses and had been treated unfairly.

Six individuals (Robert Bailey,17; Mychal Bell, 16; Carwin Jones, 18; Bryant Purvis, 17; Jesse Ray Beard, 14; and Theo Shaw, 17) were arrested in the assault on Barker and the case sparked protests by those viewing the arrests and subsequent charges, initially attempted second-degree murder (though later reduced), as excessive and racially discriminatory. The protesters asserted that white Jena youths involved in other incidents were treated leniently.

On September 20, 2007, between 15,000 and 20,000 protesters marched on Jena in what was described as the "largest civil rights demonstration in years". Related protests were held in other US cities on the same day. Subsequent reactions included a considerable number of editorials and opinion columns, and Congressional hearings.

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Now Rev. Alan Bean of Friends of Justice, a civil rights author and long-time advocate, presents a sad update. Here is an introduction to Alan's latest report:

Requiem for Catrina 

On June 29, 2009, the Jena 6 saga reached an unheralded conclusion at the LaSalle Parish courthouse.  The terms reflected DA Reed Walter’s desire to move beyond a controversy that had enveloped his existence for over two years.  Each of the five remaining defendants in this case pleaded “no contest” to a misdemeanor charge of simple battery and after completing a week of non-supervised probation their records were expunged.Two weeks later, more than 150 officers, including a SWAT team and helicopters, stormed into Jena’s small black community and arrested over a dozen individuals.
According to Sheriff Scott Franklin, the primary target of the raid was 37-year-old Darren “Nunni” DeWayne Brown, a man Franklin described as the narcotics kingpin responsible for supplying 80% of the narcotics sold in LaSalle, Grant and Catahoula parishes.  The raid also targeted Brown’s partners in crime and a few other low-level dealers.
During the pre-raid briefing, Franklin spelled out the consequences of the raid for his troops.  The bad guys “will get put in handcuffs, put behind bars today and never see the light of day again unless they are going out on the playground in prison.”
Catrina Wallace, one of the key organizers behind the Jena 6 movement, was among those arrested.  
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So, where is the media coverage on this ongoing saga of racism. Thank God for Alan Bean and his organization, Friends of Justice. Please keep reading his article, and then do something...When Good Men Do Nothing...

Thanks, Susan

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