Demands Jena 6 DA’s Disbarment

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Syracuse University Professor Dr. Boyce Watkins has combined forces with Marc Lamont Hill of Temple University to seek disbarment proceedings against the District Attorney in the Jena 6 Case. 

Reed Walters, the DA in the case, has been under fire for his handling of the case, involving an alleged assault of Black students against white students. The Black student assault took place after many weeks of racial tensions at the school, following a period during which nooses were hung from a tree to intimidate the Black students, and some of the Black students were threatened with a shot gun. 

The white victim in the assault—which took place after the students were taunted by a group including the noose hangers—was released from the hospital the same day and went to a school function that night. The Black students were charged with attempted murder and faced over 100 years in prison. Other acts of aggression by white students, such as pulling out a gun and beating a Black student, went relatively ignored by school and county officials.

Before the final incident of aggression by the Black students, they had engaged in peaceful protest of the light punishment the white students had received for hanging the nooses. During the protest, District Attorney Walters came to the school and told the students that he could end their lives with "a stroke of a pen."   

“It’s wrong for a DA to come in and talk to kids who have not yet committed a crime and make that kind of threat. Then, for him to file an outrageous charge of attempted murder against these students after the next fight in the case says that he had it out for these kids,” said Dr. Watkins. "That represents a gross abuse of his power as a prosecutor."

Dr. Watkins, working through the popular African-American website, has also spoken with Santita Jackson, the daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson about ways to proceed in the case. “The goal is to find a way to make people aware of the fact that freeing 6 kids is only the tip of the iceberg,” says Watkins, who is seeking an investigation into Walters and the entire Louisiana justice system.

“This protest by Marc Lamont Hill and myself is an effort to seek justice for the other hundreds of thousands of African-Americans who went through the same situation without any media attention.” 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University. He speaks regularly in media on issues related to people of color, including CNN, ESPN, FOXNews and MSNBC. For more information, please visit Email or call (502) 640-8155 for interviews.

Black Star Publisher's Note: We must all act now! The six teenagers are facing 80-100 years in prison without parole. They range in age from 15-17 years old.

Their names are: Bryant Purvis, Jesse Beard, Carwin Jones, Mychal Bell, Theodoore Shaw and Rovert Bailey. Mychal Bell was recently convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. An all-white jury took less than 2 days to convict him. He faces up to 22 years in prison. His sentencing is set for Sept. 20, 2007
Write immediately Office of the Governor Attn: Constituent Services
P.O. Box 94004 Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004 Facsimile: 225-342-7099 

And call Call,  866-366-1121 or 225-342-0991 or 225-342-7015

The families have requested publicity and contributions to their defense fund (they cannot afford lawyers). The address to the Defense Fund is: Jena 6 Defense Committee, PO BOX 2798, Jena, LA 71342.

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