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Related Categories: U.S. | Racial Justice
Racist frame-up in Louisiana: the case of the Jena Six
by wsws (reposted)
Tuesday Jul 31st, 2007 9:46 AM
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 :Six black high school students in the small town of Jena in LaSalle Parish, Louisiana, have been framed up on charges of murder and conspiracy. The charges came following a series of racist incidents triggered by black students’ decision on August 31, 2006, to sit under a “whites-only” tree at the school.
In a racist provocation the following day, three nooses in school colors were found hanging from the tree.

Local authorities, including the school superintendent and the district attorney, have provocatively sided with white students in the case and rigged the legal proceedings. On June 28, the first student to be tried, Mychal Bell, was found guilty of second-degree aggravated assault. He will be sentenced in September and faces up to 22 years in jail. Collectively, the six black students face more than 120 years in jail.

Following the incident at Jena High School last fall, three white students were found responsible for hanging the nooses and the principal recommended they be expelled. The superintendent of schools, however, overruled the decision and gave the students three-day suspensions.

In response, several black students, among them star players on the football team, staged a sit-in protest under the tree. An all-school assembly was convened. Arriving at the school escorted by armed police guards, District Attorney Reed Walters criticized black students for making too much of a “prank” and said, “I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen.”

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