Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mychal Bell Shoots Himself After Shoplifting Arrest

I guess I'll go ahead and post on the latest with Michael Bell since so many of you are coming to this site all of a sudden; I'm sure for that purpose. I'd unoffically retired this blog (which means I stopped actively working to update it even semi-regularly); but was leaving it up for historical reference.

So here it is, from Thetowntalk.com

Mother says Bell still in hospital
By Barbara Leader • Louisiana Gannett News • December 30, 2008

MONROE - Jena Six chief figure Mychal Bell’s mother Melissa Bell says that Michael is “fine” but confirmed that he remains hospitalized Tuesday morning as a result of what police said is a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Melissa Bell said she did not know whether Mychal would be released from the hospital today and declined further comment.

Melissa Bell, Bell’s sister Carlissa Bell and grandmother Rosie Simmons told police at 109 Grayling Lane, Monroe, on Monday night that Mychal Bell had said because of media attention resulting from his Christmas Eve arrest, he did not feel like he could live anymore.

Bell had been arrested Christmas Eve and charged with shoplifting, resisting arrest and simple battery following an incident in Dillard’s department store at Pecanland Mall in Monroe. He was freed on $1,300 bond.

Police reports said, “Once at E.A. Conway, Mychal stated that he shot himself because he was tired of all the media attention.”

Bell’s Dec. 24 arrest occurred less than one month after he completed a sentence for his role in the beating of a fellow classmate, Justin Barker, at Jena High School in 2006. That case — Bell was charged with five black cohorts in the beating of the lone white student — led to national attention and a massive protest march in Jena, where it was alleged that the defendants, charged with attempted second-degree murder, were charged too severely because of racial bias.

Bell later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and moved from Jena to Monroe, about 80 miles north, to live with a foster family. He enrolled at Carroll High School and has sinced moved in with his grandmother in Monroe.

Louis Scott of Monroe, a former defense attorney for Bell, said that because Bell’s previous criminal convictions happened when he was a juvenile, he was considered to not have an arrest record.

Lt. Jeff Harris of the Monroe Police Department said despite previous convictions as a juvenile, Bell’s access to handguns was not legally restricted. Harris said today police do not know where he obtained the handgun he used to shoot himself...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

You Know How We Stop Political Abuses Such As Seen In Jena...

....political power.

We must get our people registered, and then vote y'all.

As posted on BlackPerspective.net on September 19th:

Afrosphere Action Coalition
National Voter Registration Push

Black folks, we need to register our people to vote, and there's not much time left. From what I can tell October 6th is the beginning of voter registration deadlines in many states; including the all important battle ground states of Pennsylvania and Florida.
The Afrosphere Action Coalition is calling upon our partners in net-activism to help rally our folk to the cause of getting our people registered; especially in the important battle ground states where our voices can make a difference. As recently as August 20th, it was reported that a third of eligible Black voters (8 million) still aren't registered. http://proudblackvoter.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-08-27T16%3A26%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=7

We need a persistent push for the next month, as all the voter registration deadline dates that I've seen are between October 6th and 15th. We are asking bloggers not to just blog on it, but to organize registration in their communities, and when they do blog, to ask their readers not to only register themselves, but to at least pass the word on to people in their circles, volunteer with local groups do registration, or even organize their own efforts.
See here: http://proudblackvoter.blogspot.com/2008/09/state-by-state-voter-registration-links.html

and here: http://proudblackvoter.blogspot.com/2008/09/tennesseepennsylvania-you-have-til.html

For some information on voting deadlines.

Will you commit to use your medium, from here through October 15 (the last day of registration deadlines); to urge readers in people in your sphere to not only register themselves but to participate in registering others as noted above?

Will you commit to a combination of 3 post or mass emails a week for these next 4 weeks? (note: these do not have to be elaborate productions. As a matter of fact, functional and informative is more important than poetic appeals. How much time does it take to jot down a few lines of reminder, and a couple of links to resources? The point is to keep beating the drum).

Also, will you commit yourself to register voters, if it's nothing more than carrying around some voter registration cards in your car, and keeping some at you office, or with in your books as you go to class, and registering the people that you run across and know?

Of course, nobody can force you to stick to the commitment, it will be up to you to follow through. But here is where we can put our politics to work. Here's an opportunity to make a tangible difference by doing. If enough of us follow through we can use this medium of the internet to affect and outcome. We can do more here than blog about a problem or it solutions; we can create a solution.

If you're with this commitment please comment with your email letting me know so that I can have you on our list of participants and make sure you receive information updates as the campaign goes forward.

Or, email me at lionrunner777 @ yahoo dot com

Friday, September 19, 2008

Remembering The Jena 6 March With Urban EpiCenter's Keith Caldwell

The following is an interview I conducted tonight with Keith Caldwell, fellow community organizer here in Nashville, and one of the principle parties that I worked with in helping to organize 10 free bus of some 500+ people to go down to Jena 1 year ago tomorrow.

We discuss how it all started with a conversation over breakfast; and what we've taken from it and have built on that mobilization since.

The Evonne I reference in the convo is Evonne Tisdale of Center for Community Change.



Redux - The Jena 6 March In Rewind

You can see again my thoughts right after returning from the Jena 6 march last year.

In the coming days I will have a number of post and podcast of interviews and commentary on the organizing of the march, and what has come out of it.


The Jena March for Justice: My Experience and Perspective
My perspective and the sights and sounds that I experienced as a participant in the historic march for justice in Jena Louisiana for the Jena 6.
View more »

Also, this is the Jena 6 Blogs 100th post. Thanks all those who stopped by over the past 11 months

Monday, September 8, 2008

Michael Bell's Farther Accused of Assaulting His Son's Lawyer

Mychael Bell never had a chance with a farther like this. It's a wonder that he does as well as he does.

As I said in my last post where I discussed Marcus Bell deriding his son's lawyers and fund raisers; this guy has problems. He's simply not a decent person; and acts very much like a maniac. He can bet there will be no marches or defense funds for him.

This is a picture from earlier this year, with Marcus Bell pulling on another of his son's lawyers, as reported by TownTalk.com: "Marcus Jones (second from left), father of Mychal Bell, pulls Peggy Sullivan, one of Bell's attorneys, away from a press conference in Jena on Monday following a court hearing in which Bell pleaded guilty in the attack on a fellow student at Jena High School a year ago today."

TownTalk.com reported on August 29th that:

The father of "Jena Six" member Mychal Bell has been accused of assaulting his son's attorney Wednesday morning after a hearing in Baton Rouge.

Marcus Jones is alleged to have confronted Carol Powell-Lexing in an elevator right after she finished in her "official capacity on behalf of his son" at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association building in Baton Rouge. The association on Wednesday morning denied Bell athletic eligibility to play football during his fifth year of high school.

Reading from a report filed by Lexing, Baton Rouge Police Cpl. L'Jean Mckneely said via telephone that a "very upset" Jones began blaming Lexing for the hearing's outcome. Jones then spat in Lexing's face after pointing his finger and "yelling profanities," Mckneely said, quoting the report.

Jones then pushed Lexing down, although a witness reported seeing only the spitting incident, Mckneely said.

Lexing said Thursday that she visited a doctor's office after the altercation, but she did not elaborate on the type or extent of any injury.

Jones said Thursday that he did blame Lexing and pointed at her during the argument, but he said he would never get into a physical fight with a woman.

"I didn't touch her," Jones said. "She shoved me."

The only witness in the elevator was Mychal Bell's mother, Melissa Bell, Jones said. Melissa Bell could not be reached by phone Thursday...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Reed Walters Set To Appeal Recusal of Jena 6 Judge

I posted previously about Judge J.P. Mauffray being removed from the cases of the Jena 6.

Reed Walters, the Jena 6 prosecutor is set to appeal that ruling. From TheTownTalk.com:

Appeal of 'Jena 6' recusal ruling set
August 14, 2008

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters is appealing the recusal of 28th Judicial District Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. in the "Jena Six" case.

Walters has until Sept. 5 to submit the appeal to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, according to court documents signed Tuesday by 9th Judicial District Judge Thomas Yeager of Rapides Parish.

Yeager ruled that Mauffray could not hear the cases against Robert Bailey Jr., Jesse Ray Beard, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw. The five are accused of attacking a fellow Jena High School student in December 2006 at the school. Mychal Bell, the sixth defendant, has pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge.

The Louisiana Supreme Court ordered that Yeager handle the Jena Six cases after Mauffray was recused.

In his notice of appeal, Walters said the decision was not based on evidence presented at the hearing.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Killer Cop of Mychael Bell's Cousin Enters Plea

I got a heads up from The Black Cross on this.

If you're not familiar with the Tasering to death while handcuffed of Barron Pikes, read here.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a couple of Thursdays ago "A former Winnfield police officer pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of manslaughter and official malfeasance in the racially explosive case of a 21-year-old African-American man who died after being shocked with a Taser nine times while handcuffed and in police custody.

Scott Nugent, 21, will remain free on $45,000 bond. He faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

Nugent, who is white, was fired from the police force four months after Baron Pikes' death."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Post Jena March Noose Hanger Gets Sentenced

While in Alexandria after the Jena 6 march, myself and the group I'd helped organize to go down to the march from Nashville Tennessee where circled by two white males in a pick up truck who brandished nooses. I wrote about it here later that week.

In July, the adult offender plead guilty. 19 year old Jeremiah Munsen will do 4 months.

Man gets 4 months for threatening 'Jena 6' protesters with noose

(CNN) -- A Louisiana man was sentenced to four months Friday for using hangman's nooses to threaten and intimidate civil rights marchers near Jena, Louisiana, officials said Friday.

Jeremiah Munsen, 19, pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges for dangling nooses from the back of a pickup in September and driving past a group of protesters at a bus depot in Alexandria, Louisiana, about 35 miles south of Jena, where the marches took place.

The protesters, who were awaiting buses to return to Tennessee, had taken part in demonstrations over the "Jena Six" case, in which a white student was said to have been beaten by six black classmates in 2006...

Munsen, of Pineville, Louisiana, must also complete a year of supervised release and 125 hours of community service after his prison term.

He pleaded guilty in April and admitted that "he and the other person had previously discussed the Ku Klux Klan and how they thought the Klan would have responded to the rally in Jena," the Department of Justice said in a statement Friday.

"The defendant used a threatening and offensive tactic to intimidate peaceful civil rights marchers who were in Louisiana to rally against racial intolerance," said Grace Chung Becker, acting assistant attorney general.

"Our civil rights laws protect the civil rights of all Americans, and they emphasize the reality that we are all members of one particular race: the human race," said Donald Washington, U.S. attorney for the western district of Louisiana.

Munsen faced a maximum sentence of a year in prison.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mychael Bell Denied Opportunity To Play High School Football

In my report on my interview with Mychael Bell's attorney Lewis Scott last month; I notified you that Bell had been attending public school since last January, and was awaiting to see if he'd be granted eligibility to play this fall during his senior year.

Apparently not.

'Jena 6' defendant Mychal Bell won't play for Carroll High
Gannett News Service • August 28, 2008

BATON ROUGE — Despite impassioned pleas from his parents, attorneys and Carroll High School officials, Mychal Bell was denied an extra season of athletic eligibility by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association on Wednesday.

The LHSAA's five-member hardship committee unanimously voted not to grant Bell permission to play this season at Carroll High School in Monroe.

Bell, one of the "Jena Six" defendants accused of beating a fellow Jena High School student in December 2006 and the only one to be tried so far, has been attending classes at Carroll since January as part of his plea agreement.

After being arrested and charged as an adult for attempted second-degree murder in the attack on Justin Barker, Bell spent 10 months in prison awaiting trial. He was convicted of second-degree battery, only to have that conviction overturned on the grounds that he shouldn't have been tried as an adult.

Bell took a plea agreement as a juvenile and was sentenced to 18 months as a ward of the state.

Marcus Jones, Bell's father, pleaded for the hardship committee to give his son one more chance to play football.

After the decision, Jones laid the blame at the feet of Bell's lawyers.

"If it weren't for his attorney, Mychal would be able to play football," Jones said. "They coerced him into taking that plea agreement. If he wouldn't have taken that plea, he wouldn't be in the position he's in now."

What the hell is his dad talking about, this guy is nuts. If he hadn't taken the plea agreement he'd still be locked up, so how would he play football? This guy just dogs everybody who's helped his son. First he turns on Color of Change who raised most of the money for all the Jena 6's defense, now he's attacking the lawyers.

Alan Bean, the first activist to take up the Jena 6 case in a major way and is the one who got it out to the national media initially; has told me that Marcus took a disliking to Color of Change president James Rukur back in the early summer of last year; for reasons that aren't apparent.

Marcus Bell appears to have a problem with anyone who participates but doesn't jump for him. I don't think the guy is all there.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

After Removal Of Judge, Jena 6 Defendants Look To Remove Prosecutor

I was one of the first to report to you Reed Walters conflict of interest regarding being the school board lawyer that recommended the noose hangers receive lighter punishments, then being the prosecutor at the same time.

Also, we made you aware that Judge Mauffray, Reed Walters personal buddy was thrown off the Jena 6 case by a court last month.

Now both come into play as Walters is target for removal.

With judge dismissed, Jena 6 backers now target prosecutor
By Howard Witt | Tribune Correspondent
August 6, 2008

HOUSTON - Fresh from their successful effort to remove a local judge on the grounds that he was biased against them, the defendants in the racially charged Jena 6 case in Louisiana are now seeking the recusal of the local prosecutor for similar reasons.

Attorneys for the five remaining black youths, whose prosecution for beating up a white classmate at Jena High School sparked a civil rights march through the Louisiana town last September, contend that LaSalle Parish District Atty. Reed Walters has a conflict of interest because of his dual role as local prosecutor and counsel for the local school board.

Moreover, the lawyers assert in a motion to recuse Walters that his "bias became clear" when he declined to prosecute three white students who hung nooses from a tree in the high school courtyard in what was seen as a threat directed at black students. Many black residents of Jena regarded the act as a hate crime. The noose incident set off months of racial fights in the town, culminating in the beating incident.

Walters has disputed allegations of bias. But he'll be denied a friendly local judge when the recusal motion comes up for a hearing. That's because Rapides Parish District Judge Thomas Yeager was picked to preside over the Jena cases, following Yeager's decision last week to recuse LaSalle Parish District Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jesse Ray Beard To Use Jena Six Defense Money For School

Hmmm, don't know how I feel about this yet. Check the story:

Beard using Jena Six defense funds for school
The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 11:31 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 11:31 a.m.

JENA, La. - The youngest defendant in the Jena Six case is using his share of money donated for defense attorneys to attend a private boarding school with a focus on college preparation.

Attorney C. David Utter said that since Jesse Ray Beard's defense was donated, the money was available for his education at Canterbury School in New Milford, Conn.

Beard is one of six black students who was accused of attacking a white student at Jena High School in 2006. He has been living with an attorney in New York, and was released from house arrest on unrelated juvenile charges earlier this month so he can attend the boarding school.

The white student's lawyer says the defense fund money - from donors including rocker David Bowie, who gave $10,000 - could go for restitution, rather than Canterbury's tuition, which is almost $40,000 a year.

Harry Lemoine Jr. represents Justin Barker and his parents in a lawsuit against the parents of all six Jena High School students accused of beating Barker and the four students who were legally adult at the time of the alleged attack.

"I am following up on this," Lemoine said Thursday. He said he will look into legal uses of the money.

Beard is among five of the six students awaiting trial. Mychal Bell pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge.

The charges originally filed against the six youths brought international attention and more than 20,000 people to the rural LaSalle Parish town for the largest civil rights march in decades.

In the summer's last months, Yeager let Beard live with attorney Alan Howard while taking English, working as an intern at Howard's firm and participating in a physical fitness routine.

Beard "is an engaging young man, with none of the negative qualities attributed to him by certain media reports," Howard wrote to Yeager.

He participated in a football camp led by Canterbury's coach, and applied to the school.

"Jesse Ray impressed me as a respectful and clear-thinking young man," coach Tom Taylor wrote to Yeager.

Utter said Beard also has a scholarship and more money is being raised for the rest of the cost. He is director of the Juvenile Justice Program of Louisiana and said that program held the money for Beard.


Some things that come to mind:

1. Doesn't he still need the money for legal defense seeing as apparently the right to a speedy trial has been stricken from the constitution, and he's still under the prosecution of an open case?

2. How much of the defense funds is he using for school?

3. How much defense money does he have?

4. At least the money is going towards something productive, such as education, and I don't think in general people mind that? But still, why such an opulent school?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Judge Mauffray Thrown Off of Jena 6 Case

From the Associated Press:

NEW ORLEANS - The judge overseeing the criminal cases for the remaining Jena Six defendants was removed against his will Friday for making questionable remarks about the teenagers.

Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. had acknowledged calling the teens "trouble makers" and "a violent bunch" but insisted he could be impartial. Judge Thomas M. Yeager, who was asked by defense attorneys to review the case, found there was an appearance of impropriety and recused Mauffray.

"The right to a fair and impartial judge is of particular importance in the present cases," Yeager wrote.

As Jarret at Jarett-Carter.com says:

Mauffray’s removal comes not a moment too soon. While most of the attention is focused on his remarks, the matters of inappropriate charges being levied against the teenagers and the unlawful trial of Mychal Bell fly relatively under the radar. While these charges and decisions were ultimately overturned, it took thousands of black folks across the country rallying for justice to inspire movement; an accepted practice in 2008 by both sides, but one that should only be used in cases of emergency in 2008 and beyond.

This is exactly right, and I will add the infraction of Mauffray having been overturned for his illegally allowing Bell to tried as an adult. Then Mauffray first still wouldn't let Bell out of prision, then when he was forced to; Mauffray vindicatively revoked Bell's parole based on the same incident that he was tried on, which had been overturned. He does this 10 months after the incident, for which he had been the presiding judge all along; only after he could not get Bell any other way. His prejudice and personal animos are evident.

This is all a great vindication of what we the Jena 6 protestors have said all along. This was a biased, narrow-minded, over-reaching prosecution; in which the defendants had little chance of a fair trial from day one. This proves, contrary to the naysayers, why our fight was right, and that it was productive: Bell's free, and racist/biased judge is off the case. That's our money and pressure that facilitated these things.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Barron Pikes Tasered While Handcuffed - It Needs To Stop

I've been posting here about Mychael Bell's Cousin, Barron Pikes being tazed to death in Winnfield Louisiana; so I wanted to duplicate the text of a post that I did at BlackPerspective.net here:

We have followed some incidents of tazing at BlackPerspective.net for awhile now.

Cop Tasering, courtesy of the BBC

Now with the Afrosphere Action Coalition and other blog comrades, we’re making a concerted push to make sure the public is aware of the abusive, liberal and unnecessary use of tazering that is causing damage and death to people who are not even engaged in violence – from pregnant women, to suicidal bridge jumpers, to handcuffed nearly unconscious victims, to the wheelchair bound victims.

Extra-Judicial Electracution should not be the first resort everytime somebody doesn't jump as fast as a cop would like; it should only be the last resort short of needing to use a gun.

We have had a number of recent incidents that have pushed this issue to the forefront:

Tazering an unarmed sucidial man off a bridge

Man tazed to death after shoptlifting a grocery story gift cared because he was speaking too "loudly".

Louisisna man tasered to death while in handcuffs; 9 times

Enoght Is Enough

A Polish man going to Canada to live with his mother was tasered to death just because he didn’t speak English and was dazed and frustrated after spending almost an entire day in airport customs with no direction on where to go so he could be picked up by his mother. Instead of helping him, police killed him:

Danger Police In Area

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Officer To Be Indicted In Tazering Death of Barron Pikes (Jena 6 Cousin)

Ten day ago I posted about Mycheal Bell's Cousin being Tazered To Death In Louisiana; in which I posted a piece by the Chicago Tribune's Howard Witt.

Witt's follow up piece came out yesterday about the pending indictment hearing of the police officer who tazed Barron Pikes to death; which you can see below.

But first I want to encourage any bloggers to participate in tomorrow's Day of Blogging Against Extra-Judicial Electrocution and to post this widget on your website:

Indictment sought for police Taser death in Louisiana
By Howard Witt | Tribune correspondent
4:53 PM CDT, July 28, 2008

HOUSTON - Seeking to defuse growing racial tensions in the small Louisiana town of Winnfield, the local district attorney announced Monday that he will seek an indictment against a white police officer for the death of a black man who was shocked nine times with a Taser device while handcuffed in police custody.

Winn Parish District Atty. Chris Nevils said he would convene a grand jury Aug. 12 to consider possible charges against the officer, Scott Nugent, 21, who was fired from the Winnfield Police Department following the death of Baron "Scooter" Pikes.The grand jury will also examine the conduct of two other officers who were present during the incident, Nevils said.

Pikes, 21, died Jan. 17 within 39 minutes of being arrested on a drug possession warrant. Winnfield police claimed Pikes told them he suffered from asthma and was high on crack cocaine and PCP, but the local coroner found that Pikes had been healthy and had no drugs in his system. He ruled the death a homicide.

"Now is the time to take this case to the grand jury for a determination about whether charges should be brought," Nevils said in a statement. "I know there are strong feelings on both sides of this matter. But my obligation, and that of the grand jury, is to objectively sort through the facts and make a decision that is in the best interest of justice. That is what we intend to do."

Nevils' decision came a little more than a week after the Tribune published the first full account of the case amid fears expressed by the victim's family and civil rights groups that the incident would be covered up in a town with a florid history of backroom dealings and political corruption.

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Yobachi On Black Talk Radio To Discuss Jena Six Update

"Have You Forgotten the Jena Six?"

If the player above doesn't work for you for some reason, you can go here to hear it off of the source website.

I was interviewed in this radio broadcast by Scotty of One Black Man's View. He also intertwined some good audio clips from the Congressional hearing on nooses and from other things.

Below are links that I reference in the interview from The Jena 6 Blog and else where:

My interview with Mychael Bell's lawyer: Mychael Bell Is Indeed Free – July 2008 Jena 6 Update

Mycheal Bell's Cousin Tazered To Death In Louisiana

Another Delay For the Jena Six - Judge Mauffray Hearing

Black Teens SIX Times More Likely to be Sentenced to Jail than White Teens

Here's a link to the Black Talk Radio network's site.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mychal Bell Is Indeed Free – July 2008 Jena 6 Update

...actually, he’s been free for a long time.

Before I get to this piece, you might want to see the notice in my previous post regarding my appearance on internet radio this evening to discuss the Jena 6, including the contents of this article. Edited to add: Here is that broadcast

Bell's lawyer, Lewis Scott, did me the pleasure of speaking with me yesterday afternoon.

Mychael Bell has been living in foster care with a family in Monroe Louisiana since January, and attending Carrol high school. From when I first heard the term "foster care" months back I thought and had it described to me as a half-way house or a group home; but Scott explains that Bell is "under the supervision of Office of Youth Development", which is a division of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

Scott detailed the different levels of custody that a convicted juvenile of Bell's status could be subject to from detention center incarceration down to release, and says that the foster system supevision is where Bell was appointed; describing him as having a curfew and other legal restrictions equivelent to what you would expect a teenagers limitations to be in a good home.

Scott reports that Bell's mother has regular visitation, and that his grandmother may be moving to the same Monroe neighborhood as his foster home soon.


As stated previously he's been attending regular public school since January, even going to the prom this spring. The once star running back for Jena High who'd receive numerous recruitment letters from universities around the country before the December 2006 beating of Justine Barker at Jena high, is receiving interest again from some schools within the state of Louisisana.

Better than his football fortunes though, he finished this past semester with a 3.1 GPA. He's already classified as a Senior, and if he were to take a full load in the fall, he can graduate in December. His natural graduation date would have been this May.

Speaking of fall plans, and returning to football, Bell is hoping to play at Carroll high; but still must receive clearance from the school system. Scott told me that there's "still an issue for eligibility" relating to the number of consecutive semesters in school. But he doesn't handle that type of issue, so he was not able to specifically recite the school system policy on that.

While some are not interested in having Bell around, and some Jena 6 supporters not interested in what he does athletically, just academically; Carroll High's Coach Jackie Carroll is pretty damn excited about the prospect.

Why we're just finding out

Now, as to why no one in the media or in the activist really knew Bell's status all these months; well, because that's how his attorney Lewis Scott intended it. He says he felt bad when he was often asked about it since he wasn’t revealing the information; because he felt it more important that Bell have the opportunity to become re-acclimated to normal life without the media in his face. He says he wanted to correct the misinformation out there but that, "the lawyer's duty is to the client and not the public. I felt a little hurt when people were asking."

Scott continues, "he wasn't a kid really ready for all that" [the media exposure]. " He’s hoping to see Bell become more “outgoing” and “assertive” when talking to people. He feels that he’s not progressed in that regard to the degree that Scott would have liked to have seen at this point. I asked Mr. Scott is that due to his inherent personality, or to the trauma of the events of the last year and a half, and he replied “both”.

Scott relates that even in Jena, the racial stuff was not normally omnipresent, and not stuff Bell normally dealt with before the familiar litany of events that started with the tree controversy in 2006. Further Scott relates that Bell’s status as a star athlete made him somewhat of a town hero, along with “when you have a coach that doesn’t put up with it [racism], you’re kind of insulated from all that”.

“There is nothing in his life that would equip him to deal” with the media and so forth; so therefore Scott felt it was best to keep him out of that spot light and give him space to adjust.

Bell, though not incarcerated in neither on parole is not clearly of sentence either. As state previously, he’s custody status is one of being under the supervision of the Office of Youth development. Scott hopes to have clear within the next month.

Also, in regards to his plea bargin, Bell is not required to testifying against other Jena 6 members.


This pleasant outcome for a young man who just over a year ago was looking at charges amounting to 100 years; is certainly about his life, and not we the activist and protesters.

Nevertheless, there is a lesson here for both naysayers who said we couldn’t help him in the first place, and even for the ones who thought we could; but because he wasn’t freed the next day thought that we ended up wasting our time.

A simple equation for you: Prosecutor wanted 100 years. When that didn’t fly, he still tried for 22. We said free now.

He got out 4 months after the march. 22 years * 12 months = 264 months. 4/264 = 0.015

That is, 4 months is 1.5% the time of 22 years. That means we got 98.5 percent of what we wanted. That’s not only a win, that’s a land slide of epic proportions; an overwhelming thrashing; and elephant stepping on an ant. Even if you want to count in these next 6 months of him being under corrections supervision, it’s still an epic land slide of 96.3%.

I, my blogs, and the Afrosphere Action Coalition remain committed to seeing a just resolution in the cases of the other 5 Jena 6 members – and I am proud to have stood up for them and what was right, whether they be model citizens or not.

We will fight, and we will (already have) win. [great march pictorial put to music]

The Jena 6 Blog Will Appear on The Black Talk Radio Network

I will be on appearing on the Black Talk Radio network's internet radio program tonight via blog talk radio; by invite of One Black Mans Veiw.

We will be discussin up dates on the Jena Six and related issues, including my recent posting of the NAACP's financial disclosure on the issue, and yesterday's interview with Mychael Bell's attorney Lewis Scott.

Click here to listen to the show. You can also call in and join the discussion.

It starts at 8 easter, 7 central this evening, Wednesday July 24.

Show Info:

Time: July 24, 2008 from 8pm to 9:30pm
Location: One Black's Man View
Website or Map: http://www.blogtalkradio.co...
Contact Info: 1-(646) 478-5242
Event Type: Live, Internet, Broadcast
Organized By: One Black Man

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mycheal Bell's Cousin Tazered To Death In Louisiana

Taser death ignites racial tensions
Not far from Jena, La., suspicions rise of a cover-up mount
By Howard Witt | Tribune correspondent
4:16 PM CDT, July 19, 2008
WINNFIELD, La. — At 1:28 p.m. last Jan. 17, Baron "Scooter" Pikes was a healthy 21-year-old man. By 2:07 p.m., he was dead.

What happened in the 39 minutes in between — during which Pikes was handcuffed by local police and shocked nine times with a Taser, while reportedly pleading for mercy —is now spawning fears of a political coverup in this backwoods Louisiana lumber town infamous for backroom dealings.

Even more ominously, because Pikes was black and the officer who repeatedly Tasered him is white, racial tensions over the case are mounting in a place that's just 40 miles from Jena, La.---site of the racially explosive prosecution of six black teenagers charged with beating a white youth that last year triggered one of the largest American civil rights demonstrations in decades. And in a bizarre coincidence, Pikes turns out to have been a first cousin of Mychal Bell, the lead defendant in the Jena 6 case.

No novelist could have invented Winnfield, a place so steeped in corruption that they built a local museum to try to sanitize it all.

Here in the birthplace of two of Louisiana's most colorful and notorious governors — Huey and Earl Long—the police chief committed suicide three years ago after losing a close election marred by allegations of fraud and vote-buying.

Four months later, the district attorney killed himself after allegedly skimming $200,000 from his office budget and extorting payments from criminal defendants to make their cases go away.

The current police chief is a convicted drug offender who got a pardon from Edwin Edwards, the former Louisiana governor who is serving time in federal prison for corruption convictions.

All of that tangled history is now wrapped up in the Pikes case, because Scott Nugent, the officer who Tasered him, is the well-connected son of the former police chief who killed himself—and the protege of the current chief, who hired him onto the force.

For the rest of the story...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The New Jersey 4 Winning Victories

The following article will be a repost from my main blog www.BlackPerspective.net

But first, just to let you know, I'm working on Mychael Bell is free information. If he's not officially free right now, which it seems that he is; it's more than evident that he will be soon as the local High School in Carroll Louisiana is talking about him joining the football team. He was a star athlete at Jena High before all this; getting recruitment letters from major football programs across the country.

Convictions Overturned for 2 of the Jersey 4

Before the Jena 6 there were the Jersey 4. Last summer I brought you their story .

Here is the short of it, you can read the long version in the link above.

As Imani Henry wrote "Venice Brown (19), Terrain Dandridge (20), Patreese Johnson (20) and Renata Hill (24)—received sentences ranging from three-and-a-half to 11 years in prison. None of them had previous criminal records. Two of them are parents of small children." Their were charged in response to defending themselves against an attack by a man who's advacnce they had turned down on a Grenich village street.

Two of them have now had their convictions overturned.

Angry Brow Butch has the story of two of the victims release:

An appeals court on Thursday overturned the convictions of two women accused in the beating and stabbing of a man who they said made unwanted sexual advances to them in Greenwich Village two years ago.

One of the women, Terrain Dandridge, whom a jury found guilty of second-degree gang assault, had her conviction reversed and indictment dismissed; as a result she can no longer be tried on those charges. A four-judge panel of the Appellate Division in Manhattan ruled that there was not enough evidence to support a guilty verdict for Ms. Dandridge. She had been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

The second woman, Renata Hill, who was found guilty of second-degree gang assault and third-degree assault, had her gang assault conviction vacated, but she can be retried on the charge. The court ruled that the judge’s instructions to the jury on the charge were erroneous and that therefore her conviction could not be upheld.

She was sentenced to eight years in prison, but if the Manhattan district attorney decides against further prosecution, she is likely to be released because the maximum penalty for the third-degree assault is a year and she has already been in prison longer than that.

I'm glad the one can't be tried again. I've suggested to my blogging comrades that we need to go hard and provide political support and cover to help bring pressure on the DA not to retry the other; and for something to be done for the two still locked up.

Mychael Bell is out of jail right now instead of spending years on lock down because of what we did. Shaquanda Cotton http://freeshaquandacotton.blogspot.com/ is home because of our political cover. Determined advocacy works.

I say let's get to it!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

NAACP Accounting of Jena 6 Funds

The NAACP spent more than half the Jena 6 money they collected on themselves.

This is a copy and paste from an NAACP PDF file

You can read all of it if you like, but pay attention to the parts in bold. The words in brackets [ ] are my words.

Again, the report below is what the NAACP itself is say about how it spent the money, not what someone is saying about them.


Members of the NAACP, in keeping with the charge of our founders, stand against all forms of injustice.

Preamble, Constitution of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

For more than 98 years the NAACP has worked to ensure the equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination. The NAACP calls on all people to support democracy, dignity and freedom. Based on serious concerns about the events occurring in Jena, Louisiana, the NAACP took steps to make its units and members aware of the situation and to use its influence to assist the young men who were charged. Our efforts included chartering an NAACP Branch in LaSalle Parrish Louisiana in May, 2007, to tackle broad based issues affecting the larger African American community.
The NAACP undertook several initiatives:

• At the NAACP National Convention in Detroit, Michigan, delegates passed an Emergency Resolution expressing support and solidarity for the Jena Six, their families and the LaSalle Parish Branch of the NAACP; and demanding that the United States Department of Justice investigate and monitor the trial of the teenagers for any violations.

• On Monday, July 23, 2007, the NAACP began its internet campaign to draw national attention to the events in Jena.

• On Friday, July 27, 2007, the internet campaign was modified to give those visiting the website the option of donating directly to Jean Six defense funds established by the families and by other organizations. Visitors to the website were also given the option of donating directly to the NAACP to support its ongoing programs and initiatives. The modified site was introduced on Monday, July 30, 2007. Data on the webpage were updated as new developments occurred.

• More than 144,000 visitors viewed information about the events in Jena on the NAACP website.

• The NAACP started an on-line petition drive, to collect signatures to present to Louisiana Governor Katherine Blanco. Over 180,000 signatures were collected and presented to the Governor by the NAACP Louisiana State Conference President, Ernest Johnson.

• On September 19, 2007, a web link was placed on the NAACP website to allow visitors to view a live web cast of the historic September 20, 2007 March on Jena.

• The Louisiana State Conference of NAACP Branches led thousands of marchers to protest injustice in Jena. Joined by representatives of Rainbow Push, ACORN, The American Postal Workers Union, Alpha Phi Alpha, the faith community and

others, marchers made a bold and unified demand for justice. Dozens of NAACP units from Louisiana and from around the country, including Michigan, Arkansas, South Carolina and North Carolina, sent busses of NAACP members to participate in this historic event.

• On September 20, 2007, following the march, the NAACP sponsored a town hall meeting of national experts on the school to prison pipeline. The web cast was viewed by over 35,000 visitors.

Contributions received by the NAACP in response to the Jena Campaign include:

Internet Contributions: $ 8,782.00
Mail Contributions: $11,112.00
Total: $19,894.00
Mail contributions of $11,112.00 include a $10,000.00 donation from celebrity musician David Bowie.[So more than half their donation money came from one rich individual. Sorry, but that's not very effective fund raising by the old guard there]

Expenses related to support to the LaSalle Parrish Branch (travel, meetings and web cast) associated with the September 20, 2007 march and streaming video of the town hall meeting total:

$10,283.00 [I don't recall that site, which I viewed a few times back in the summer and fall of last year, notifying donors that there money would go towards support of branches and for meetings. The industry standard for over head is about 35% and many think that's too high.]

Excess of revenue over expense $ 9,611.00

The NAACP will provide a check in the amount of $10,000.00 in pro rata shares, to
the attorneys providing legal services to the Jena defendants. [So they took in 19,894 and spent 10,283 on themselves. That's 52% overhead. Even if you give the NAACP credit for the $389 they added to the pot, that's still 50% overhead]
Knowing that many young men and women of color outside Jena face discrimination in the criminal justice system, the NAACP has declared a State Of Emergency to call attention to the problem of unequal justice nationwide. We welcome the support and assistance of all likeminded individuals and organizations seeking systematic change and broad based solutions to racial injustice.

The NAACP and its members thank you for your continuing support and dedication to justice.

If I was an NAACP donor I’d be furious; but then again that’s why I’m not an NAACP donor.

Online Afrosphere organization Color of Change collected $212,000 dollars for the Jena 6, and they distributed $210,000 to Jena 6 lawyers.

And Jesse Jackson had the nerve to say:

“Internet bloggers can serve the meal better than they can farm,” Jackson said. “Farming requires tilling the soil, removing the debris, planting, being patient, letting it germinate. That’s the strength of labor unions and churches and civil rights organizations.”

I guess “serve the meal” also means distributing the money. Does generating the funds equate to "tilling the soil"; I think so?

The Black bloggosphere can pat itself on the back, becase we posted that Color of Change donation information all over the place.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another Delay For the Jena Six - Judge Mauffray Hearing

So whatever happened to the constitutional right to a speedy trial? Charges were first leveled against them more than 17 months ago, and now another month long delay.

Lawyers in Jena 6 case seek judge's ouster

By Howard Witt | Tribune correspondent
8:40 AM CDT, May 31, 2008

OUSTON—Lawyers for the five remaining defendants facing trial in the racially divisive Jena 6 incident in Louisiana presented evidence Friday of what they said was bias on the part of the judge presiding over the cases and sought his removal.

After four hours of testimony, a visiting judge appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to hear the recusal motion against LaSalle Parish District Judge J.P. Mauffray asked for more evidence and postponed a ruling until at least July.

Defense attorneys have long asserted that the white-dominated justice system in the small central Louisiana town was biased against their African-American clients: six high school students who were initially charged with attempted murder in the December 2006 beating of a white classmate...

According to some of those present during Friday's hearing, defense attorneys testified that Mauffray had made prejudicial comments to them about their clients on multiple occasions. David Utter, who represents defendant Jesse Ray Beard, said Mauffray had labeled the Jena 6 defendants "a violent bunch" and had asserted that "crime has gone down" in the months after the youths were jailed on the beating charges.

When he was called to the witness stand, those present said, Mauffray appeared to concede that he had made such statements, testifying at various points that "I probably said that" and "I might have said that." But the judge maintained that he had not formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused youths.

Mauffray "has proven through his testimony that he does harbor prejudice and prejudgment in these cases," said Derwyn Bunton, an attorney for Theodore Shaw. "We want a fair trial with a fair judge, and the hearing illustrated we cannot have that with Judge Mauffray."

Chicago Tribune article

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Jena 6 DVD Is Now Avaliable

Apparently there's a documentary out on the Jena 6 situation. I could find no background info about who produced it, or anything. It doesn't even have an IMDB page (Internet Movie Database)

The Blogger News Network has a short review saying in part that:

"The Jena 6 story is a disturbing one. This DVD explores the story in detail. When you examine the people involved, and the crimes committed, a rather disturbing trend emerges. If you are white, you are just exhibiting youthful exuberance, but if you are black, you are doomed.

The Jena Six story is one that everyone needs to understand, and this DVD gets right to the hub of the issue."

You can purchase it here

Louisiana Court To Hear Arguments on Recusing Jena 6 Judge Mauffrey

I told you about the motion to have Judge Mauffrey removed in my last post on May 8th. It Appears arguments will finally be heard on this on May 30th.

Lawyers accuse judge in ‘Jena 6′ trial of racial bias

(CNN) — A Louisiana appeals court has agreed to a request by attorneys for four of the “Jena Six” defendants to hear arguments that the trial judge in the case should be recused because of alleged racial prejudice.

District Judge Thomas Yeager will hear arguments next Friday for the recusal of Judge J.P. Mauffrey Jr., according to court documents released this week.

One of the attorneys, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the case in the small town of Jena, Louisiana, said the lawyers must prove “substantial bias” in their effort to have Mauffrey removed.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

May Jena Six Update

This Jena 6 update for May is brought to you by the folks at TownTalk.com:

Motions delayed for 3 'Jena Six' defendants
By Abbey Brown

JENA ­-- On May 2, 2007, close to 20 people gathered in front of the LaSalle Parish Courthouse shouting, "Free the Jena Six!" for the first time.

The crowd, mostly family and friends of the six teens charged in a December 2006 incident at Jena High School, vowed to continue protesting until the students saw justice.

But more than a year later, only one of those six has faced a jury. And Tuesday brought another delay when scheduled motions for three defendants were continued pending an appeal from the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal filed by their attorneys.

Those representing Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw said that 28th Judicial District Court Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. had previously denied motions before him to recuse himself as the trial judge in their cases without a hearing. The attorneys feel Mauffray has an unfair bias in the case, according to motions filed.

His denial to their recusal request has been appealed to the 3rd Circuit, so Mauffray said he won't hear other motions until that appeal is decided.

Some of the motions scheduled by the attorneys and LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters included change of venue, permission to conduct a poll for change of venue and intent to use Purvis' Texas assault charge in his trial for the Dec. 4, 2006, assault on Justin Barker.

The attorneys said they hoped Jones, Purvis and Shaw's cases could be consolidated with the only pending juvenile case -- Jesse Ray Beard -- since all have the same recusal of Mauffray appeal pending. No trial date has been set for Robert Bailey Jr.'s case either...

Tina Jones, Purvis' mother, said her son is doing well and will graduate from his Dallas-area high school on June 8. Just last week, he went to his first prom, she said. Purvis has been looking at colleges, and the University of Kansas is currently his first choice, Tina Jones said.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jena 6 Defendant Jesse Ray Beard Motions To Have Judge and DA Removed

Jesse Ray is the defendent who was 14 at the time and was always being handle as a juvenile while D.A. Reed Walters attempted to try the others as adults.

I try to follow up with my contact at Town Talk about the on going status of this motion in the next week.

Motion to remove judge, DA in 'Jena Six' case filed
Town Talk staff

Attorneys for Jesse Ray Beard, the youngest of the six Jena High students who have become known as the "Jena Six," filed motions Tuesday to recuse 28th Judicial District Court Judge J.P. Mauffray and LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters.

The motion to recuse Walters said the prosecutor "has shown on numerous occasions that he is so prejudiced and harbors such personal bias against Jesse Ray (Beard) and the other five African-American youths now known as the Jena 6, that he is incapable of fairly and impartially performing his duties as the district attorney."

The motion to recuse Mauffray said he "has made numerous statements, on numerous occasions, in different procedural postures, to numerous individuals, which make clear he has pre-judged not only Jesse Ray (Beard's) guilt, but the disposition for Jesse Ray (Beard) as well."

In juvenile proceedings, as Beard's case will be handled, there isn't a jury, just the juvenile judge. In LaSalle Parish that person is Mauffray.
"Millions of people turned their attention to the Jena Six last year, but at the end of the day the system itself has to go on trial," James Rucker said in a press release.

Rucker is the executive director of ColorOfChange.org, the 400,000-member group that advocated on behalf of the Jena Six. "Reed Walters and Judge Mauffray have behaved outrageously at every turn and violated the most basic principles of justice. There can be no justice in Jena with these men as its agents."

Beard faces juvenile charges of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same in connection with the Dec. 4, 2006, attack on Justin Barker at Jena High that left Barker unconscious.

Monday, April 28, 2008

More Nooses: In Tennessee

I told you yesterday about the post Jena march noose hanger pleading guilty.

A commenter at another blog, who goes by the name Pelmo, responded to a post about a Black politician defending the confederate flag said in part that the whole noose thing late last year was hyped based on some "innocent Halloween" displays. That's odd, when many of the most reported cases of noose hangings took place in August and September; and were no where near any Halloween displays; such as the one that was hung from a Black college professor's door for instance, that no one would take credit for (not to mention others).

I guess these 3 following noose hanging incidents recently in my local area are all "innocent Halloween" displays as well; because nothing says Halloween like Spring weather, blatant racism and denailst defending it.

I guess the Holocaust didn't happen either.

Noose found in another Mid-State school

Another noose has been found in the bathroom of a Mid-State school

A student at Gallatin High School discovered the noose, which was made out of paper towels, Tuesday morning in one of the boys' bathrooms.

The school's principal told News 2 several racial slurs were also found, directed toward an African American administrator.

Schools officials sent a letter home to parents notifying them of the incident, as well as notifying local police.

The incident comes one week after a similar incident in Franklin.

A noose was found in a bathroom at Poplar Grove Middle School. Racist graffiti was also found written on the walls in two separate bathrooms, on two separate incidents.

Franklin police now patrol the school.


Go here and click on the link entitled "Racial issues arise at Williamson Co. school" for video about confederate flags and and a noose hung from a students vehicle at school this past Friday.

Here's an article about the same story's after effects: Confederate flag banned at Independence High

Jena 6 March Noose Hanger Pleads Guilty

If you recall, after the September 20th march in Jena, we (the marchers) rendezvoused in Alexandria; about 40 minutes west. There that night a noose threat incident took place.

I was there when this incident happened, as myslef and about 100 others from Nashville were waiting for our bus drivers to finish getting some sleep before heading back to Tennessee. I wrote about it here, this blog did not exist yet. Now the 'adult' noose hanger has plead guilty

Teen pleads guilty in nooses display after 'Jena 6' rally
The Associated Press
12:35 AM CDT, April 26, 2008

ALEXANDRIA, La. - A teenager pleaded guilty Friday to using nooses to threaten marchers after the "Jena Six" rally last year, federal prosecutors said.

Jeremiah Munsen, 19, of Colfax, could get up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, authorities said. Sentencing was scheduled Aug. 15.

Federal prosecutors dropped a felony conspiracy charge that carried up to 10 years in prison. Interference with the federally protected right to travel, the charge to which Munsen pleaded guilty, is a misdemeanor.

"The defendant today took responsibility for committing a federal hate crime by using a powerful symbol of hate to intimidate a group of interstate travelers because of their race," U.S. Attorney Donald W. Washington said in a statement.

On Sept. 20, Munsen and a juvenile from Dry Prong hung nooses off the back of a pickup truck and drove around downtown Alexandria near a crowd waiting for buses that would take them back to Tennessee after one of the nation's largest civil rights demonstrations.

rest of the article

Also, it's curious that there is never anything in the press reports; nor apparently in this indictment about the shot gun that they had in the truck. I have original video of police pulling the shoot gun out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Howard University Paper Takes Students Lowered Temperature On Jena 6

After High Temperatures, Jena Outrage at a Low Fever

Hundreds of students gathered in Cramton Auditorium to rally for teenage boys in Louisiana -- more commonly known as the Jena "6" on Sept. 5, 2007.

Student leaders, along with representatives from African-American progressive organizations gave stirring speeches. Adorned in "Free the Jena '6'" T-shirts, the campus of Howard University was reminiscent of the days of Stokely Carmichael and other revolutionary figures. The spirit to effect change was contagious as students embarked on their journey to Jena, La. But now, after Howard received such accolades for organizing the fight for the Jena "6," the fight seems to be over. Jerome Brooks, of Bay St. Louis, Miss. who was a member of the planning committee for the trip to Jena, said that Howard students are essentially over it. "It was great to see students around the nation mobilize in order to seek justice for the proper punishment for the Jena "6," but there has not been a push to end the clear segregation and mistreatment of African Americans in Jena," said Brooks, a sophomore biology and political science double major. "The politics are the same as they were before the case." Following the rally that had an estimated 20,000 people in attendance, a defense fund was established by Color of Change, an empowerment organization with a desire to mobilize the black community. Close to $300,000 was raised in order to secure payment for attorneys and other legal fees.

But the segregated environment of Jena continued when the FBI became aware of a white supremacist Web site that listed the names, addresses and phone numbers of the Jena "6" and their closest family members and friends.

The FBI investigation surfaced after threats of lynching were received by the Jena "6" and their family members. Another member of the planning committee, sophomore finance major Brian Cox from Harrisburg, Pa. said conscious students are aware of what is currently happening with the Jena "6," as well as what is going on in Jena, La. "Students who were already actively involved with politics are aware of what is going on. For others, I think they were mainly involved only because of the hype surrounding the case, so they are completely over it now," Cox said. "But politically-aware students understand that Jena is still a conservative, Southern, Baptist town that has little to no plans on changing their politics."

The teens known as the Jena "6" have received less harsh charges and await trials scheduled for later this year.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

March Update on the Jena Six

There's an absolute dearth of information on the Jena 6 these days, but I'm still working sources to find out the latest.

Abby Brown of TheTownTalk.com informs me that the March 24th trial of Braynt Purvis is not happening.
    She states that:

    "None of the Jena Six defendants have trial dates yet. The next hearing is May 6 and it is change of venue motion hearing for 3 of the defendants and the DA has also presented a motion to use Purvis' Texas arrest in the Jena Six case."

I will be contacting more sources about other facets of the Jena 6 in the coming days, and will report back when I have other information.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Louisiana Case Overturned by Supreme Court Due To Racial Bias

The Supreme Court decided in a 7 – 2 vote yesterday to overturn the conviction of a Black man tried in Jefferson County Louisiana, on the grounds that potential Black jurors were dismissed based on their race.

This case of racial discrimination in the jury selection in Louisiana highlights the very problem with an all white jury in the Michael Bell trial. All white juries may be appealed to on the basis of racial bias, as happened in this case; where such a tactic that has no place in the law, is not likely to succeed when a member of the racial minority is on the jury. Then, you actually have to argue the facts of the case.

At the very least jury's should not be gerryrigged to exclude certain races. It's illegal and violates democracy and justice.

Antonin Scalia and his lapdog Clarence Thomas are the only two justices to vote against overturning Snyder’s conviction.

Supreme Court overturns death penalty in Louisiana case
By James Oliphant | Washington Bureau
March 20, 2008

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the guilty verdict and death sentence of a Louisiana man convicted of hacking his wife's lover to death, concluding that an African-American juror was unfairly excluded from the panel. The court ordered that the defendant, Allen Snyder, get a new trial.

In a 7-2 decision written by Justice Samuel Alito, the court said the state trial judge erred when he allowed prosecutors to strike an African-American college student from the jury. Prosecutors said at the time that they thought the student worried too much about missing school to be an effective juror, but the court ruled that this justification was a pretext, noting that the murder trial lasted only two days.

Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University in New York, said that the decision highlights a growing interest within the court in the fairness of the death penalty. "This has been an unusual court in that it has been looking at a lot of death penalty [appeals]," she said.

The justices also are currently considering whether the lethal injection method used to execute prisoners in more than 30 states is unconstitutional. "It's a sign the court is acknowledging the problems with the death penalty in this country," Denno said.

Invoking O.J. Simpson

Jefferson Parish, La., where the trial took place, has a long history of controversy over the dismissal of black jurors. On appeal, lawyers for the defendant claimed that the prosecutor in the case eliminated all of the potential African-American jurors in preparation for inflaming the jury's racial passions. Several times the prosecutor compared the case to O.J. Simpson's. Snyder's trial was in 1996, just after the Simpson case garnered global notoriety.

At the jury selection phase of the trial, lawyers questioned 85 potential jurors. In a parish where one in every five people was black, nine potential jurors were African-American. Four were dismissed for cause, and the prosecutor used his peremptory challenges to strike the others. Snyder was then convicted and sentenced to die.

The striking of those final five jurors formed the basis of Snyder's appeal. But because the Supreme Court had to find racial bias in only one instance, it did not address the exclusion of the other jurors. Snyder remains in prison pending his new trial.

Read the rest of the article here

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

University of San Fransico Examines Jena Six Case

There seems to be a good bit of Universities disecting the Jena 6 situation still. I was part of a panel at Middle Tennessee State University a couple of weeks ago, that I still need to write about, and I received an information request on a list serve today from someone at the University of Louisiana.

Here's another examination from USF:

Justice Forum Examines Case of Jena 6

Feb. 28, 2008 -- A USF School of Law Justice Forum Feb. 27 brought together students, faculty, and a city official to examine the case of the "Jena 6" and its implications for racial and criminal injustice.

Professor Rhonda Magee moderated the forum, which featured Professor Sharon Meadows, USF Associate Professor of Politics James Taylor, and San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Eric Flemming. The event was sponsored by the Black Law Students Association, National Lawyers Guild, and the Student Bar Association.

The Jena 6 are six black teenagers from rural Jena, Louisiana, who in 2005 were charged with beating a white classmate. The fight followed an incident in which a noose was hung from a tree unofficially designated for white students on the high school campus after a black student asked to sit under the tree. Jena District Attorney Reed Walters drew nationwide criticism for the racially disproportionate severity of the charges and sentences for the Jena 6.

"The argument was that the white kids who hung the noose had been tried lightly while the other kids were slammed," Meadows said.

Taylor placed the controversy within the historical context of the African American experience, dating to slavery, and within the context of today's criminal justice system.

"Black criminality was woven into our Constitutional framework," he said. "Jena 6 is microcosmic for a social phenomenon. How did we get to a place where we have 2 million people in prison, and 700,000 are black, and that's okay?"

Mychal Bell, the only member of the Jena Six who has been tried, was originally charged with attempted murder, but the charges were reduced and he was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy. Both convictions were overturned on the grounds that Bell should have been tried as a juvenile. Bell pled guilty in December in juvenile court to charges of second degree battery and was sentenced to 18 months. Charges against four defendants who are adults under Louisiana law remain pending. The status of charges against the sixth defendant, who was a juvenile at the time of the attack, is not known.

Flemming said he disagreed with the Jena district attorney's handling of the case. "It was just a fight," he said. "Our function is to be fair, not to see white, black , male, female. It is to see justice."

Flemming quoted Frederick Douglass: "In a composite nation like ours, made up of almost every variety of the human family, there should be, as before the law, no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no black, no white, but one country, one citizenship equal rights and a common destiny for all."

"That was not the case with the Jena 6," he said.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Still Wondering About Baisden's Unequal Justice Fund

Do you remember Michael Baisden’s “Unequal Justice Legal Defense and Education Fund”

Do you know where the money is? Have you heard anything about it in months?

For me, the answer to both is no, so I did a little checking. On neither of the two still standing web pages about the Unequal Justice Fund can I find:

1. How much is being collected?
2. Who’s receiving it?
3. How it’s being administrated ?
4. What is the method of accountability and where can we check to see that donors money is going to where it is said it would go?

There are no minglecity.com pages found about the fund, just a residual Jena 6 page. There once was a page dedicated to the fund when he was promoting his November Atlanta fundraiser and immediately afterwards. But apparently all information about the fund are now gone from mingle city.

Even at his Michael Baisden dot com site the “web-a-thon” graphic only shows money collected up through the end of September.

I can find nowhere on either of his websites where information is given about the collected money.

Also isn’t it funny, but have you heard him talk about the Jena 6 much, if at all since he unsuccessfully tried to run down Color of Change in the week leading up to his own fundraiser?

Maybe I’ll call his offices after while and see if we can’t get any info; but one shouldn’t have to do that when he has two websites that he used to raise the money from. If he can put fundraising information on there, he can just the same put information about where the money’s been going since he got it.

But if you have any information, by all means, please inform me. I’ll correct the record promptly.

Here are the two remaining sites discussing the Fund's existence and how to apply:


Friday, February 29, 2008

Bunkie Louisiana, Jena's Sibling

The following article is by Alan Bean of Friend's of Justice. Alan was one of the original 2 or 3 civil rights activist who aggitated for Jena Six and got the story out to the world after going there about this time last year.

By the way, he's a White preacher from Texas; not one of us Black people "playing victim" or "playing the race card".

Hard Times in Bunkie, Louisiana

At a glance, Bunkie looks like any other cash-strapped central Louisiana town. It’s a jumble of crumbling shacks, modest bungalos and a clutch of picturesque mansions straight out of Gone with the Wind. Bunkie used to be a predominantly white community, but as one old timer told me, “the old whites are dying and the young whites are movin’ out–pretty soon you got yourself a black majority. Used to be the east side was black and the west side was white, with Highway 71 as the divider. But now a lot of black folks are buying homes on the west side. That causes conflict; a lot of whites don’t want to live around blacks.”

I first visited Bunkie on February 22, 2007; exactly one year ago. I had been organizing the families of the Jena 6 and Tony Brown, a radio personality in nearby Alexandria, had interviewed me on his morning talk show.

“You’ve got to come down to Bunkie,” Denise Atkins told me, “we got it real bad down here.”

Denise arranged a public meeting in an old restaurant that was in the process of renovation. A crowd of thirty showed up for fried chicken and conversation. Everyone wanted to talk about Chad Jeansonne, a detective with the Bunkie Police Department who had learned every trick in the drug war manual.

Moments into the meeting, several participants noticed a shadowy figure lurking in a darkened corner of the room. A middle aged black woman in the uniform of the Bunkie Police Department emerged from her hiding spot and confronted her accusers.

“What you doin’ spying on us?” somebody asked. “I’ve seen you on those raids where the cops come busting in without no warrant. You know how they do us!”

The officer was unrepentant. “If ya’ll would quit doing drugs and hanging out on the street corner you wouldn’t have nothing to worry about!”

”We all work hard for our money,” a young woman shot back. It was a familiar conversation: Mos Def meets Bill Cosby. The disgruntled officer sauntered out of the room.

A few days later, I got a phone call from an officer with the Louisiana State Police. “Hello Dr. Bean,” a pleasant voice said. “I hear you’ve been down to Bunkie talking to some folks and I was just curious about your business.”

“I was invited to Bunkie by some concerned citizens,” I replied.

“What were they concerned about?”

“Oh, the usual,” I replied. “Racial profiling, warrantless searches, and coerced testimony and plea agreements. But the conversation kept coming around to one officer in particular: a fellow named Jeansonne; Chad Jeansonne.”

“Well, I’m sure your investigation will lead you to the conclusion that Mr. Jeansonne is a fine officer doing really good work for us down there in Bunkie.”

This prophecy has gone unfulfilled. After chatting with four ex-Bunkie police officers who had worked with Jeansonne I started taking the complaints emerging from Bunkie’s poor black community much more seriously.

Read the rest of the article here

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Clearing Up The Current Mychael Bell Situation

When I posted this article a few weeks ago, I expressed my surprise that Mychael Bell had been released, wondering how I could have possibly missed that. Well I didn't. The lazy professional media that Steven A. Smith thinks should be the only ones allowed to report on issues, simply got some basic facts wrong.

I just spoke with Alan Bean of Friend's Of Justice, and Bell isn't living with foster parents in Monroe Louisiana, he was transferred to some sort of "half-way" house there, pending his release around June.

I'll try to get in touch with one of his lawyers next week to see if I can get a little more detail and clarification of his status. Lord knows I'm not going to get it from the mainstream media. Yahoo and Google news searches have had nothing listed on Mychael Bell for weeks now, and next to nothing on the Jena 6 in general.

It's clear that the main stream media has retreated back to it's pre-September 2007 dearth of coverage of this case. And these are the people we’re supposed to trust the dissemination of information to.

Thank Holy God in Heaven for the internet (not withstanding it’s potential to be used for evil)

Friday, February 15, 2008

More Detail On Bryant Purvis' Arrest

Police still investigating Hebron fight involving Jena 6 student
By Chris Roark, Staff Writer
(Created: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 10:25 PM CST)

Carrollton police continue to investigate an incident in which Hebron High School senior Bryant Purvis’ tires were deflated last week.

The incident, according to police records, ignited a fight between Purvis and Hebron senior Christopher Jones on Feb. 6. That led to police arresting Purvis, who was one of six students known as the Jena 6 accused of assaulting a white student in Jena, La., in 2006.

Purvis moved to Carrollton last year and lives with his uncle, Dallas Cowboys player Jason Hatcher.

“There is no indication that this is a racially-biased crime,” said Sgt. John Singleton, spokesperson for the Carrollton Police Department. “It just stems from an altercation between two students.”

According to police records, Purvis believed Jones deflated the tires to his vehicle, so he approached him Wednesday morning, grabbed him by the throat and threw him down. Singleton said Jones has visible marks around his neck and bruises around his left eye.

After being questioned, police arrested Purvis and charged him with assault causing bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor. Purvis was transported to the Denton County Detention Facility, where he has posted bond, Singleton said. Singleton said simply letting the air out could lead to a substantial inconvenience charge, which would be a Class C misdemeanor. Using a device to cut the tires could lead to a higher charge.

Meanwhile, Purvis is facing discipline at school. Lewisville ISD spokesman Dean Tackett said Purvis will face the same disciplinary action at school as any other student in this situation would, which is a three-day suspension and seven to 10 days at the Lewisville Learning Center.

“If this was a scuffle, the police wouldn’t have gotten involved,” Tackett said. “But, the police get involved when it’s an assault.”

Tackett said this is the only incident Purvis has been involved in at Hebron that he’s aware of.

Keith Owens, who has a daughter at Hebron, said the incident shocked him.

“When I heard about it, it surprised me,” Owens said. “But, I don’t think it’s isolated to Hebron, because these things happen at all schools.”

Purvis has played on Hebron’s varsity basketball team, and Owens said he has briefly talked to him following a game.

“He seems like a normal kid,” Owens said. “I guess he just lost control, and his emotions got the better of him.”

Purvis is the team’s leading rebounder and third-leading scorer. He will be unable to play while serving the suspension.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Why I'm Proud To Defend the Jena Six, Model Citizens or Not

Concerning Bryant Purvis' recent arrest in Texas and the debate about defending those who are not model citizens, some valid points have been pointed out

In a list serve discussion another blogger states in part that "the way this issue was framed actually made it about individuals - You can't go back now and say well that really didn't matter."

She goes on to state

"Nothing wrong with standing up for people, but how you frame the issue is important. When you are dealing with cirminal defendants, you are almost always dealing with someone who exercised poor judgement at the very least and engaged in criminal behavior at the very worse. I mean as far back as two months ago, the CBC was attempting to get a FULL pardon for the six teens from Blanco.

It is almost as if people don't know how to disengage and will ride
this bad boy into the ground. You saved their youth. What other role
do you have to play now?"

Here's what I think in regards to these points.

Sure, we have to be careful about how a protest is framed, but some of how anything is framed is out of our hands, as the run-away media will say what it wants to it's echo chamber of whites (including liberals) who minimalism racism.

It was always a lie that Jena 6 supporters thought that the young men should receive no punishment; yet, that's the lie that was spread by mainstream media and white "progressive" blogs alike, from day one.

Calls for pardon were after they had all already spent months in prison, and the DA was digging his heels in on going forward on trumped up charges and illegal prosecutions and tactics. It was a response to the failure of the legal system to provide equal protection under the law, so at that point a pardon was right. They
had already been punished, and the legal system was showing itself ineffectual in responding to a malicious prosecution.

When we get down to deciding who's rights should be defended and who's shouldn't based on who they are, then we get to a point where it's going to be:

They came for the Jena 6, but I said nothing because I was a well behaved Negro, and not a criminal like they
When they came for me, there was no one left to speak up.*

That may seem dramatic, but it's really not. If they can trample criminals rights, then they can trample yours too; especially when they do so based on the criminal being Black, as this article shows that in Louisiana Black youth are sentenced 6 times more harshly than white criminals who commit the same crimes:

And when they get through with the Black "criminals", taking away their rights; you want to know who they're coming after next to feed the prison industrial complex; The rabble rousers, the protesters, the intellectuals; just as tyrannies always do.

So yeah, I've seen where some people have run out in defense of somebody Black who got tazered, and it turns out his black ass was in the wrong, and deserved to be tased; so we do have to be careful - get our facts first, and make our arguments based on good knowledge.

But at the same time we can't let the "good test case"/model citizen ideal be the determining factor in whether we defend against injustice being committed against someone. The "good test case" thing really only applies to challenging unjust laws, not in challenging unjust prosecutions, when the law itself isn't at question.

*This section of my exegesis is an allusion to a poem entitled First They Came

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Jena 6 Defendant Bryant Purvis Arrested In Texas

Slaps hand against forehead - you just can't help some people.

I'll get to the particulars of the arrest in a moment, but some folks, Jena 6 supporters, on a list serve I frequented are talking about that's why they used upstanding citizens for test cases back in the day to build the movement around and that's why they used the Rosa Park incident to launch the bus boycott verses other similar incidents.

That's good, well and understood; but here's my response to that:

People's lives are not test cases or a movement.

The boys deserved justice. If justice was 1 years in jail they deserved that, if it was no jail they deserved that, if it was a few months, they deseved that; but I know they didn't deserve 80 to 100 years (what the DA first tried to charge them with).They didn't deserve 20 years in jail (the amount of time charges would have carried once he was forced to drop the murder conspiracy).

Everyone's life and right to justice is worth defending. It's not acceptable to me to stand by and watch people have their lives taken away if there's something I can do about it, just because they're not saints. Non-saints deserve equal protection under the law too.

End of story for me.

Jena 6 defendant charged in Texas assault
By Howard Witt | Tribune correspondent
4:24 PM CST, February 7, 2008

Bryant Purvis, 19, was arrested Wednesday in Carrollton, Texas, and charged with misdemeanor assault after an incident with another student at Hebron High School, Carrollton police said. Purvis was released in lieu of $1,000 bond on Thursday and suspended for three days from the school, where he enrolled as a senior after moving to the area to live with a relative.

Purvis' attorney, Darrell Hickman, characterized the assault as a "minor shoving incident" and said it involved a student whom Purvis believed had vandalized his car a few days before. A police affidavit accompanying an arrest warrant alleged that Purvis choked the student and pushed his head into a bench, injuring the victim's eye.

Read the rest of the story here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Jena 6 March Noose Perpitrator Charged

I was there live in the flesh when this incident took place. It happened to the group that I helped to organize to go to Jena, as we waited for our buses to come back to Nashville that night after the March. I wrote about it here, this blog did not exist yet.

Feds indict teen for 'threatening' noose

ALEXANDRIA, LA -- It was one of the few blights reported by the organizers of a 20,000-person civil rights demonstration held last year in a Louisiana town at the center of a national race debate.

As a group of marchers waited for a bus to transport them from Alexandria, La., to Tennessee, a pickup truck allegedly cruised slowly by, a pair of nooses hanging from the back of the truck. Local police officers took notice and arrested the teen driver and his passenger.

Four months later, federal prosecutors have announced the indictment of Jeremiah Munsen, 18, on a federal hate crime, and civil rights conspiracy charges, for "his role in threatening and intimidating marchers" as they attempted to cross a state line.

Munsen and his 16-year-old passenger, who has not been identified by authorities, allegedly fashioned a pair of extension cords into nooses and discussed the Ku Klux Klan as they drove repeatedly past a group of marchers gathered at a bus stop, while they waited for Tennessee-bound transportation.

The rest of the story: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/national_world&id=5911694

Monday, January 21, 2008

White Racist Protest In Jena Is A Complete Dud

You can watch a video report from an area television station here: http://www.kalb.com/index.php/news/article/mlk-march-in-jena/2804/

They've been promoting this for months and all they could come up with is 30 to 50 people. That's it? There were more counter protesters there.

White separatists march in town of Jena 6By Mary Foster | Associated Press
5:23 PM CST, January 21, 2008

JENA, La. (AP) — About 50 white separatists protested the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday in this tiny town, which was thrust into the spotlight months ago by 20,000 demonstrators who claimed prosecutors discriminated against blacks.

Police separated participants in the "pro-majority" rally organized by the Learned, Miss.-based Nationalist Movement from a racially mixed group of about 100 counter-demonstrators outside the LaSalle Parish Courthouse. There was no violence and one arrest, a counter-demonstrator.

Chants of "No KKK" from the mostly college-age counter-demonstrators were met with a chant from the separatists that contained a racial epithet.

At one point, dozens of state police forced back about 10 people, dressed in New Black Panther uniforms, who had gathered around a podium where the separatist group's leader Richard Barrett was to speak.


This was us on September 20th


Them today
White Seperatisit Marchers in Jena

AHHH, ha ha ha ha ha!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

When The Hell Did Mychael Bell Get Out?

Jena 6 Teen Now In Foster Home
Posted: Jan 2, 2008 11:11 AM CST
Updated: Jan 2, 2008 11:11 AM CST

Mychal Bell, the primary face of the Jena 6 is no longer in Alexandria.
The 18-year-old teen has been moved to Monroe to stay with a foster parent.

The teen pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery in return for the deal which gave him credit for the 10 months he had already served.

The charges against Bell and five classmates, now known as the Jena 6, led to a huge civil-rights demonstration in Jena in September.

Well thanks to this elaborate report from my home town station, KSLA TV 12 in Shreveport, now I know all the details(rolls eyes @ lazy media).

My understanding was that he wouldn't getting out until around June, as I reported at the time

I guess I'll have to do some calling around to some insiders on this one. I'll get back.