Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Jena 6 Update - Mychal Bell Released!!!

I know I'm a little late but - Mychal Bell, seen to the right with his parents leaving the courtroom, was finally released after a 10-month stint in jail on September 27th. The release on $45,000 bail came shortly after the district attorney in Jena, Reed Walters, announced that he would not seek to maintain adult charges against the teenager for participating in the beating of another white teen. [After ten's of thousands of people protested in Jena, LA it seems like the DA finally got a little sense.]

However, the DA's comments regarding the protesters in Jena, LA have made racial matters worse. [Yep, I spoke too soon.] Attorney Reed Walters stated that Jesus saved the town from protestors. "Had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday [September 20th], a disaster would have happened," District Attorney Reed Walters said. "You can quote me on that." [Craziness]

A black pastor, the Rev. Donald Sibley of Jena's New Evergreen Baptist Church, suggested it was a "shame" not to give some credit to the tens of thousands of people who pulled off a peaceful mass demonstration, but Walters just shrugged. "What I'm saying is that the Lord Jesus Christ put his influence on those people [ok ok, am I trippin? but who are THOSE PEOPLE?] and they responded accordingly," he told Sibley.

The pastor later said Walters had deepened Jena's divisions. "He's separating Christ once again: his Christ and our Christ," Sibley told CNN. "For him [to say] that because his Christ, his Jesus, because he prayed, because of his police, that everything was peaceful and was decent and in order - that's not the truth."

But moving on, to recap, Mychal was originally convicted of aggravated second-degree battery as an adult, but that conviction was thrown out by a state appeals court, which said he should have been tried as a juvenile. [um...duh] Although he still faces the same charges in juvenile court, instead of a possible sentence of 15 years in prison as an adult, he can now be held only until he is 21 by the juvenile courts.

Others involved in the December schoolyard beef of Justin Barker [the white kid] also still face charges. Apparently the kid, knocked unconscious in the beating, has $14,000 in medical bills, [my question is how do you accumulate 14k in medical bills but still get well enough to go partying that night? - but that's just me].

But ultimately, I'd just like to congratulate all who were active members in ensuring Mychal Bell was tried fairly by our justice system. Those who wrote letters, forwarded emails, shared the story with a friend, and followed the case - thank you!! I'm very optimistic that this small victory has enlightened several people of the injustices that are faced by a large number of young black men [and women] in this country. Lets keep up the fight. Now, onto this Reed Walters guy...

Parting Quote: “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

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