Jena 6 Defendant’s Plea Bargain Garners Mixed Response From Supporters, Experts And Onlookers...Tha Artivist Reports...

Marcus Jones (left), father of Jena 6 defendant Mychal Bell, Rev. Al Sharpton and Melissa Bell, Mychal Bell’s mother. (AP Photo)

The Jena 6 case and what it represents has become a lightning rod for activism as well as divisiveness...Rarely does such a topic or subject garners such a strong response from everyone…Whether you agree or disagree we all can agree that the Jena 6 case has revealed that it takes time for old wounds to heal and that open and honest dialogue is key if we are as a community going to get to the heart of the problem and find solutions…

For this article we approached some of the brightest, most engaging and opinionated minds around...Each person asked for their insight represents a clear demographic of our society whether it be academic, the media, religious or the community in general…Vanderbilt University Law Professor Carol Swain, Louisiana Civil Rights Activist and Marcus Jones’ Spiritual Advisor Bishop George and noted Civil Rights journalist Gary Younge each weighed in with their worthy insight…Their distinct voices and opinions represent the spectrum of Black America…As the old saying goes we can all agree to disagree but respect is key if you expect reciprocity…

Prof. Carol Swain, Vanderbilt Law School

Renowned Law Prof. Carol Swain thought that the plea bargain was probably the best deal Mychal Bell could have gotten from a legal point of view when you consider his previous juvenile record and participation in the beating of Justin Barker…”I assume that his criminal attorney had access to his juvenile records and that played a part in his plea bargain…He was guilty of being a part of the attack on the white student, maybe the plea bargain will prevent the media from probing into his juvenile record…But had he been tried and evidence come forward, he probably could have gotten a stiffer sentence and it came down to what was best for him…And usually it is better in cases where you are guilty to get a better deal by plea bargaining…”

She also recognizes that the U.S. justice system is biased towards poor people as well as people of color in particular Black Males…”I think the justice system hurts all poor people…If you can’t afford an expensive lawyer, one that’s going to work on your behalf at an hourly wage then you are at a disadvantage regardless of your race…I think it also does affect disproportionately Black men because many of them are poor…”

She also confessed sympathy for Mychal Bell and the media scrutiny that is individually upon him as well as a member of the Jena 6…”I hate to be him because everything he does he’s going to be watched and if you look at what has leaked into the press about his prior record he has not been a choir boy and he may very well end up in trouble again…”

Prof. Swain stated that that type of media attention can also bring out the best and the worst in people in the general public…”There are people that are rooting for him to get on with his life, go to college and be successful, but there are also other people waiting and biding their time to see when he gets into trouble again…I think he’s in a very awkward situation because of the high profile of the case…”

She also offered some words of advice for Mychal Bell and his parents post-plea bargain…”If Mychal Bell has an anger management problem he needs to get help for it…And if his parents can afford to relocate I think that might help them as far as to get a new start and not be constantly reminded by the past…”

However, she does feel that the boys should be punished for their actions and not let off the hook so easily by their Black supporters…”I think that at the end of the day we are all accountable for what we do…The Jena 6 boys did a gang beating on one individual and were sort of celebrated in the community…I think that we should have condemned the attack more harshly then we did because they were involved in doing something that they were not suppose to be doing and separate that from the penalty…”

Prof. Swain also felt that the Black community can show love and support for the boys while at the same time holding them accountable for what they actually did…”The charges they were charged with were severe but at the same time they had no business ganging up and beating one person in the way that they did and that should have been the first thing we as a community condemned to send a signal to other Black young people that this is unacceptable behavior…”

She also noted that there’s an alarming growing trend of violent young Black males running in gangs or packs throughout the nation…”I heard of several cases like that of these young black men traveling in packs and attacking single, lone individuals and that’s not right… There’s no respect of self or other people and we need to be the ones saying that and holding them accountable and not celebrating and defending them because they are not innocent…”

Prof. Swain thought that Mychal Bell in spite of all he’s been through did deserve to serve some time and she hopes that through his incarceration he’s gained some wisdom...”Mychal Bell deserves to serve some time…And I hope he stays out of trouble and I hope he learned his lesson…At the end of the day Mychal Bell was doing something he shouldn’t have been doing…”

Prof. Swain noted that the Jena 6 case struck an emotional chord because it hit so close to home…Her brother was a victim of an attack that was eerily similar to the one endured by Justin Barker, however he wasn’t so lucky…”I had a brother that was attacked by five boys mid afternoon, they were boys from the neighborhood and I am sure he knew them…They beat him using their fists, shoes and kicked him and he took a blow to the head…He managed to get home and fell into a coma and died that evening…”

Because of this family tragedy she does admit she has a bias against the defendants in the case…”That sorta of colors my view about whether or not a sneaker can be a deadly weapon, the youngest boy was 14 and there was five of them…All I know is that we got to do something about these conditions…It’s not morally right…”

Prof. Swain believes that Black self-help is the remedy for the moral epidemic the Black community is facing…“I come from the underclass and I have been exposed to a lot…I am very concerned about the choices a lot of my people, Black people, make and some of our problems are our own fault and I do see them as our youth and our problem because I don’t think that society won’t do anything else but put them in jail… “

Bishop George, Louisiana Justice Foundation Activist

Bishop George stated the plea bargain caught many of the grassroots Jena 6 supporters off guard…”Honestly the plea bargain was a surprise to everyone…It was something that occurred in relation to Mychal himself or anybody locked up at some point that they are going to want to be free”…

Bishop George also felt that everything began to feel orchestrated and suspect as if this was preplanned conspiracy…“The plea bargain caused a lot of things to begin to happen such as a suit being filed by the Barker family against Mychal Bell and his parents…The other family members and members of the Jena 6 have been served suits for damages concerning the incident…It was as if everyone was waiting for one of the boys to plead guilty…”

He also noted that the Jena 6 case and the Mychal Bell plea bargain is nothing but a microcosm of what’s going on in the rest of the United States…”This is a process that’s going on all over the United States where young people plea bargain and their plea bargaining their lives away…There seems to be a trend all of a sudden where plea deals are coming up and my experience is when there is a plea somebody gets free and that didn’t happen and hasn’t happen as of yet with Mychal Bell…”

Echoing the sentiments of Marcus Jones, Bishop George also felt that Mychal Bell and his parents were mislead by the conditions of the plea bargain…”His mother is upset because it was the understanding that he was going to be moved from a secured facility to a atmosphere that wasn’t jail like…From what I understand things were misconstrued in Mychal’s mind about what was going to happen and what was not going to happen…”

Bishop George also noted the absurdity of the actual plea bargain as well…”There’s a lot of things concerning the plea that has taken place, even the parents having to pay child support to the state until the young man is 18, this is a first… I asked some people about it in the system they say this has never been done before…This is ludicrous and with the adult trial being thrown out the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, he is being held illegally…”

Bishop George stated the reason why the Jena 6 case occurred in the first place was because of inequities in the LaSalle Parish judicial system when it comes to crime and punishment…"The issue is still about unequal justice… If Mychal Bell is going to receive 18 months for battery then the White perpetrators of the battery committed upon Robert Bailey Jr. need to also receive 18 months…Justin Barker had a weapon on the school campus after those incidents that occurred at the school leading up to the fight…There are a whole lot of discrepancies that are still left out there that are going have to be dealt with…”

He also feels that the La Salle Parish Court System has no respect for the actual law when it chooses to not follow the direct command of a higher court…”I consider it chicanery when the Louisiana State Supreme Court has an ad hoc judge come in and rule that the documents concerning Mychal Bell had to be opened and Judge Maffrey goes right ahead and seal those same records…And now Mychal has to go before the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.. Now that let anyone with common sense know that the court system in LaSalle Parish have a lot to hide because they are insistent on keeping those records shut down…”

Bishop George expressed sympathy for Mychal Bell’s parents…”The poor parents were left with court costs...Marcus Jones’ job, a job he had in Jena, he lost months ago and so the income that would be coming towards to pay for those things in the court will be coming from Melissa and whatever Marcus can come up with…There’s been some mis-information in the media…People are mistaken in alot of ways about the way things are going…”

However, he also expressed optimism about the outcome of the case…”The ball is where it is, but the ball is not dropped, there are going to be a pursuit of issues that are still outstanding…There are a lot of things that are still on the burner being dealt with concerning the case of Mychal Bell…”

Bishop George felt that the plea bargain was not a win/win for Mychal Bell…”I don’t think that there was anything that could be gained or garnered by Mychal admitting that he had a part in what occurred with Justin Barker… “

He also felt like Marcus Jones that the court of public opinion was in Mychal Bell’s favor and that the plea came as a shock and let down to many passionate supporters…”When you have upwards of 70,000 people come to a town to stand for justice and fight against unequal justice and get down to the wire and things are looking the way they are looking and you find a plea is made...That is something that everybody is trying to get their heads wrapped around…”

Bishop George also noted a coalition of the willing, a collection of civil rights organizations who made themselves the designated spearheads of the Jena 6 movement getting together just two weeks before the plea bargain to discuss the nuts and bolts of the Mychal Bell case...”There were some groups that entered into the Jena 6 case, Southern Poverty Law Center; Color of Change and Friends of Justice...These groups from the onset had been looking at trying to find some way to diffuse the entire situation”…The meeting took place in Alexandria, La...

He also noted key players in the Jena 6 case were present including Attorney Darrell Hickman (Bryant Ray Purvis’ attorney) and Mychal Bell’s Attorney Lewis Scott and the parents of the Jena 6 defendants…

The purpose of the meeting was to try to come up with some type of agreement among all the attorneys on how to help Mychal Bell’s parents with the money situation...As a court order they have to pay the monthly incarceration fees of their son…”This thing about a plea has been on the table for a period of time and they were trying to get all the parents to agree...The only two parents that weren’t in agreement were Marcus and Melissa…And some point the lawyers were persuaded that this was the appropriate way to go…”

According to Bishop George the plea bargain deal had unforeseen repercussions “and now what has happened with the suit lingering around, you are not going to get any of the young men to say yeah we had a part in that because that is an automatic payout if the suit is won by the Barkers...”

Bishop George feels that for the Jena 6 to get true justice and exoneration that the U.S. Federal Court must step in…“It’s a precarious situation that‘s going to have be settled in Federal Court…It’s can’t be settled in state court…Somebody’s going to have to have the unction and the junction to file something in the federal system and that’s going to change the whole parameters of this thing…Because there’s malfeasance that has occurred so it has to be dealt with in this manner…”

Gary Younge, Civil Rights Journalist of The Guardian and The Nation

Award winning journalist Gary Younge also feels sympathy for Mychal Bell and his legal woes…”Well I can understand why he did it, my guess is that his counsel thought that was the best deal he was going to get… In a way I hope for Mychal Bell and the others that they get out of the criminal justice system as soon as they possibly can… If this was the quickest way they can do it then so be it…”

Younge also expressed genuine concern for the individual well being of Mychal Bell and his co-defendants and that this human element of the story shouldn’t be lost in the hustle and bustle sensationalism of the historic civil rights case…”I feel like you don’t want to grandstand with a young person’s future…It would be great if we could move on to other stuff while keeping an eye on the actual individuals involved...The fate of the individuals involved is important…”

He also feels that the Jena 6 case only further illustrates the institutional racism that is prevalent throughout the U.S….He also reasoned that the public must become vigilante in searching for the inequities in the U.S. judicial system and beyond…”What I also think needs to happen now is to take the light which is dimmed significantly but it was shown on Jena 6 and shine it elsewhere on the country where it’s happening all the time…”

He also said that 21st Century racism is more sophisticated and stealth or invisible and that nooses from the Jena 6 story was a throwback to a different era…”If it wasn’t for the nooses no one would have noticed Jena…It took some medieval Jim Crow acting out for people to sit up and listen…White people now don’t have to act out with nooses, crosses and stuff in order to be racist, but in order to catch the media’s attention they have to…”

He offered two examples of how racism has “evolved” and how the media has played a part in that evolution…”If someone came up to your house called you a nigger and burned a cross on the lawn that would make the news but if you worked in a big company and they say we’re firing three hundred people and two hundred are black then that won’t make the news…Somehow it has to be these dramatic and undeniable expressions of racism that makes the grade and that is not how racism works…”

“You have to be a very stupid white person to run around with nooses and crosses because you don’t have to do that to get what you want or to keep the stuff that you stole…”

Gary Younge also warned that if we don’t pay attention to the details that we may miss the big picture on the significance of the Jena 6 saga…“Jena was a symbol of a bigger problem and unless it’s regarded as a bigger problem then the general lesson has been lost…”

Special Jena 6 Post-Plea Bargain Show On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio
To listen to the entire Prof. Carol Swain interview as well as others on this case please visit the following link on-line:

To Hear The Entire Bishop George Interview Please Click On The Following Link:

(Ron Herd II also known as R2C2H2 Tha Artivist hosts the internet radio show “Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio” at His Website is He is also the author of James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant

More Jena 6 On W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:


Jena 6 Plea Bargain Deal Not A Win-Win...Tha Artivist Reports...

One of the most publicized civil rights cases in recent memory has garnered more scrutiny…On Dec. 3, 2007 the defense team for Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena 6 to face jail time and trial, avoided a possible 2nd media circus filled trial by taking a plea bargain…Although Mychal will be free in only a matter of months many questioned the decision made by his legal defense team as well as the motive…Opinions varied far and wide from those connected to the case to those who were made aware of the saga through the media and the wonders of modern technology…

Mychal Bell’s father Marcus Jones and Mychal’s lead Attorney Lewis Scott are the two most distinctive voices involved in this issue…Marcus Jones felt that his son was mislead by Attorney Scott and his legal defense team while Attorney Scott felt that the plea bargain he helped to engineer served the best interest and individual needs of his client…

Both of these men are passionate about what they believe in…Below both men are given space to tell the story of the plea bargain in their own words from their individual perspectives…

The jury is now the in the court of public opinion…Regardless of how one may feel there’s no denying that the Jena 6 saga is one of the most prominent civil rights sagas of the early 21st Century…The Jena 6 legacy and the interpretations of that legacy will have long term effects…The final verdict has yet to be given…

Jena 6 Attorney Louis Scott Makes His Case

Louis Scott and associate Carol Powell-Lexing. (Courtesy photo)

Plea Bargain For Mychal Bell Was The Right Decision For His Client

Attorney Scott felt very confident that the decision his team made on behalf of his client was the right one…”The charges we entered the plea on, Mychal had been convicted of those charges in adult court…The part related to the aggravated nature was dismissed, the conspiracy was dismissed and the plea was less than what he was charged with…We could have been battling this case for a couple of years but in the meantime he wasn’t getting any education and we didn’t want him to fall by the wayside…We wanted to take time and look at his well being specifically…”

According to Attorney Scott going to trial would not have stopped the lawsuit filed by Justin Barker and his family…”The plea bargain and the filing of the lawsuit really didn’t have anything to do with each other…It really would have been filed regardless because it was prepared for months…I had already spoke with the attorneys for the Barkers and I knew that was coming down the pipe anyway…”

Attorney Scott did not feel that the plea bargain was a cop out or let the town of Jena off the hook…”For people who are interested in civil rights they should realize that there are two separate issues…If we would have gone to trial and if he was convicted of the things that he entered the plea to, they would have considered that a cop out…For people who want to straighten out the system it takes a lot more…”

“Dealing with racism in Jena or anywhere else requires more than us just preceding to trial…Going to trial was not going to deal with the fact that the other young white men who have taken part in the various activities were not prosecuted…Going to trial was not going to make the school system protect the rights of the African American students who go to school there…Going to trial was not going to deal with all the problems… Those problems if people are really serious about it are going to have to be dealt with over a period of time...”

Attorney Scott also noted the tension that existed among Mychal Bell’s family over the plea bargain…”In reality I would have fought the case as long as my client would have wanted to fight it…However, in the situation we were in we talked to Mychal himself, Melissa (Mychal’s mom) and Marcus (father)…Melissa was very much in favor to the plea bargain, Mychal was in favor to entering the plea agreement but Marcus disagreed to it…”

“My role as representative of Mychal Bell was to represent Mychal Bell and to do things that was going to be in his best interest so he can have some certainty in his life and plan his life…He felt it to be in his best interest to continue his education and put this behind him…I sympathize with his father and if Mychal would have decided to continue to fight just as his father wanted to do then that’s what we would have been doing”…

Quite frankly Attorney Scott admitted that in terms of a civil rights case taking a plea was not the best option…“From a civil rights perspective it may have been better to probably fight the case throughout…However, the decision of a lawyer has to be based upon the needs of his client…For certain reasons I hated to enter into the plea agreement because we would have had a better chance of exposing all of the problems and difficulties especially with the judge and judicial system in the area”…

Attorney Scott alluded to Mychal Bell’s football background as a running back to convince his client he made the right decision…”You still have five other people, like I told Mychal you don’t have to be ashamed of the decision you make, you ran the ball, you advanced the ball a certain distance now somebody is going to have to run the ball for awhile…You been the one who have been taking a pounding and been incarcerated…You done your part…Keep your head up and go head finish your education…”

Attorney Scott said that the lawyer’s main concern should be the individual needs of his clients and not to offer his client up as ‘a sacrificial lamb for the cause’…”If you look back over history of the people that were involved in the high profile cases the individuals didn’t always turn out okay…When you had marquee defendants like the Scottsboro 9 or Wilmington 10, just because they fought the battles for a long time doesn’t mean that the individuals turned out okay…If you look at the Little Rock 9, alot of them turned out okay because they had the support of people on a personal basis and they weren’t considered as sacrifices…They were considered as human beings who had needs themselves and they were able to progress and achieve in life…”

“A lot of people never looked at Mychal’s individual needs because they wanted a sacrifice...They didn’t consider him as a young person who is 17 years old who still needs an education, parental nurturing, somebody who can explain to him the ins and outs, somebody who can counsel him, those are needs he still has…”

Attorney Scott offered the following words for those who still wanted to continue the fight against injustice and for the rest of the Jena 6:

“There’s still five young men…There’s still injustice in Jena and those who want to deal with injustice should not let this (plea bargain) stop them…Injustice can not be dealt with through one march or going to one city on one day, it has to be dealt with day in and day out…It has to be dealt with in the courtrooms as well as in the chambers of legislature, on our jobs and in our schools…It’s something people have to organize for rather than thinking it is something that can be dealt with on the spur of the moment…”

Marcus Jones Offers His Rebuttal

Marcus Jones

Marcus Jones Questions The Motive And Timing Of Plea Bargain

Marcus Jones the father of Mychal Bell to say the least is not satisfied with the plea bargain deal at all…”When I first heard about the plea bargain quite naturally I wasn’t for it…I told my son this…The whole puzzling thing is why my son’s lawyer would accept a plea bargain from the D.A….”

Marcus Jones thought the plea was in bad taste because he felt the momentum of public opinion shifting heavily in the favor of Mychal Bell and other Jena 6 defendants…”With all the resources that has been galvanized around my son, the resources that my son had with people wanting to help from Harvard Law School; Howard University; Southern University and law students that other universities had; the National Black Caucus taking a stand; Rev. Sharpton; Michael Baisden, all these people bringing all this to the forefront, bringing this light…”

So the question remains as Marcus Jones said…

“Why would they as Black men and a Black woman (legal defense team) sell my son out like that?”

Marcus Jones first and foremost wanted his son to have a fair trial after what he felt the first trial represented which was a mockery of the judicial system, but business as usual in Jena…”If he was a good lawyer he would have said we are not taking any plea deals, we are going to take my client to trial and we are going to have our day in court…I thought he took the case to fight for my son…I never said my son didn’t participate in the fight…My whole issue from day one was that it was an unequal justice here where whites got away with committing crimes and the D.A. were forcing the laws on Blacks for lesser or similar crimes…”

Marcus also had a problem with the way they were “maliciously prosecuting and maliciously incarcerating” his son from day one…Marcus cries of abuse of his son Mychal included “locking him up as a juvenile with adults, trying him as an adult and then dropping those charges 10 months later and sending him to juvenile…”

Marcus fears and beliefs were for better or worse validated when the 3rd Circuit Court came back with their ruling…”Then 3rd circuit court came back 10 months later and overturned it saying that the D.A. and the judge misused the law…It should have been in juvenile court from day one…That was a violation of what the judge and D.A. had done in the law...It seems like to me that the DOJ (U.S. Department of Justice) should have came in and removed them by locking them up or suspending them...”

Marcus was nevertheless elated and thought that Attorney Scott and his team will act immediately upon the news with immediate and positive results…Or so he thought…

“My son’s lawyer got the word from the 3rd Circuit Court that they were wrong for incarcerating my son, holding him as an adult when he should have been in juvenile custody, they violated his civil rights…Locked him up in a facility where he could not continue his education…It’s been so many violations and civil suits that should have been filed by my son’s lawyer but he never did…But at the time I had such confidence in my son’s lawyer that I thought he was really trying to defend my son in the right way and to the end…”

Marcus feels the motive was money for Attorney Scott’s seemingly betrayal of his client…”If somebody paid me for running a race and you paid me for running the race before I even run the race, whoever gave me the money to run the race you suddenly get burned because you should have paid me after I got through running the race and that’s how I view what my son’s lawyer has done here…The confidence that I had in my son’s lawyer, I really don’t understand why he done this…”

“When my son went to court on Nov. 6 for two motion hearings, for the double jeopardy thing and for no police report being done we knew that Judge Maffrey in Jena wasn’t going to rule in our favor anyway”…The reason for the hearings was to able to advance their cause to the 3rd Circuit Court…”He (Scott) said when you get out and people ask and interview you or anything push the issue they are trying to try your son twice for the same thing…”

Marcus was surprised to learn on November 29 that the legal team never filed in the 3rd Circuit Court…Frustrated and confused Marcus asked them why didn’t they file and Attorney Scott said that Peggy one of the other lawyers on the defense team wasn’t finished writing the writ…Marcus upon hearing this stated “wait a minute that’s been a whole month, there’s something wrong with this picture…”

According to Marcus when his son asked Attorney Scott for the reason for not filing in 3rd Circuit Court, Scott told him because the plea bargain deal became available…Marcus felt that Attorney Scott told his son a lie because his intent was to do the plea bargain all along…

Marcus believes that there was an arrangement between the Barker Family and his son’s lead lawyer Louis Scott in order to help the Barker’s lawsuit and that his son was going to be the sacrificial lamb…”Somebody had to be the fall guy for this…In order for the Barker Family to make this lawsuit they filed against us good it had to be by Dec. 4…They needed somebody to take the plea in order for the lawsuit to be good…So the timing of the plea is very suspect…”

“I try to tell his mother and Mychal don’t do it, but they were making these promises to my son by being out before Christmas and his birthday and my son still sitting in jail…Something is wrong with this picture…”

Marcus believes that the plea bargain also let down the true supporters of his son and of the rest of the Jena 6…”All that’s been done to help our people come together around my son’s wrongful incarceration...People went out on the limb to send and raise money to help defend my son…They didn’t send that money for no plea bargain...”

The terms of the plea bargain according to Marcus Jones are suspect as well…Terms of the plea included not being able to go back and appeal the plea; Marcus will continue to pay child support for Mychal until he is 18 (what does this have to do with the case?); the parents have to pay a portion of Mychal’s medical bill; any motion that they, being Mychal and his parents, filed against the judge and D.A. will have to be withdrawn and the parents will have to pay the court costs…”What lawyer in their right mind would agree for their client to take a plea bargain from a D.A. under those circumstances…That’s bad law practice…”

Special Jena 6 Post-Plea Bargain Show On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio
To listen to the entire Attorney Louis Scott and Marcus Jones interviews as well as others on this case please visit the following link on-line:

(Ron Herd II also known as R2C2H2 Tha Artivist hosts the internet radio show “Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio” at . His Website is He is also the author of James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant

More Jena 6 On W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:


Thousands Marched For Jena 6 And Other "Just Us" Cases...

Thousands Surround Justice Department In Hate Crimes March
11/16/2007 @ 1:52 pm
Filed by RAW STORY

Protesters marched through the streets around the Justice Department Friday to demand federal intervention in the "Jena Six" case and enforcement of hate crime laws against those who hang nooses in public.

On a chilly but clear day, busloads of people packed a downtown plaza seeking a big government response to small town injustices. They were angered by charges they consider overly harsh and unfair against six black teens accused of beating a white high school student in Jena, La. Tensions between black and white students had run high for weeks in Jena, including an incident where a noose was hung from a tree at the high school. No one was charged with a crime for hanging the noose.

"If they allow this to be done to these children, they can do it to all children," said Camela Vines, a local hairstylist who arrived at 8:30 a.m. for the noon march.

The march, organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, came only a few days into the tenure of new Attorney General Michael Mukasey, a former federal judge.

Organizers said more than 100 busloads came for the march, from as far away as Florida, Michigan, and Washington state.

The Jena case has angered many black leaders who say the federal government should forcefully prosecute noose-hanging incidents as hate crimes. Lax prosecution of such cases, they charge, has led to other noose-hanging incidents around the country since the Jena case came to light.

"There are so many nooses being hung around America," said Martin Luther King III, son of the famous civil rights leader. "Anytime there's a hate crime the Justice Department should prosecute, and a noose is certainly a hate crime."

Federal prosecutors have said they are actively investigating multiple noose incidents for possible prosecution, but said they did not pursue charges in the Jena case because such charges usually are not brought against minors.

In the last year, the department said it has won 189 convictions on civil rights charges, the largest number in their history.

Critics say they have yet to file any hate crimes charges in noose incidents at Jena or since.

"The Justice Department wouldn't come to the people, we brought the people to the Justice Department," Sharpton said. "Nooses are no prank... We were lynched!"

Some argued the government's priorities are way off-base.

"They spent more time on Barry Bonds," complained the Rev. Frederick Haynes of Dallas, referring to the recent perjury charges against the baseball star in a steroid case.

Five of the Jena teens initially were charged with attempted second-degree murder in a local court, though the charges were later reduced. Charges against the sixth teen, who was booked as a juvenile, have been sealed.

So far, Mychal Bell is the only one of the Jena Six to stand trial. He was convicted in June of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy. The convictions were later overturned and the case sent to juvenile court. A state judge on Friday agreed to open Bell's juvenile trial to the public.

Bell, now 17, was ordered to jail last month for a probation violation in an unrelated juvenile court case.

CNN's cameras catch Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, Judge Mathis, Steve Harvey and other activist speaking at a march at the Justice Department in Washington, DC. According to Al Sharpton's National Action Network, "With hate crimes and noose hangings on the rise across the country, we must have the federal government protect us from local hate and bigotry."

More Jena 6 News On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio:

11-18-07~Actual Show:
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10-28-07~Actual Show:
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10-07-07~Actual Show:
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09-30-07~Actual Show:
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09-23-07~Actual Show:
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08-05-07~Actual Show:
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07/29/07~Actual Show:
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Artivist MCs Historic Jena 6 Forum @ Washington University In St. Louis...

Until The Jena 6 Are Free Neither Are We!!!

New Fans Of The Art Of Tha Artivist: (Left to Right) Bro. Tony Brown, R2C2H2, And Bro. Marcus Jones

Jena 6 Update On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio
Also, Check Out Mychal Bell's Father, Marcus Jones, And Radio Personality/Activist Tony Brown On Tha Artivist Presents…W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Sunday Oct. 28, 2007 Edition…Click The Link Below To Listen:

Historic “Strangefruit: The Jena 6 Story” Event Planted Seeds Of Activism In Those Who Attended
By R2C2H2 Tha Artivist (with special contributions by Callie Herd a.k.a. Tha Artivist's Mom)

I wanted to share the updates of the “The Strangefruit: Jena 6 Story” event which took place Friday Oct. 26, 2007 from 6pm-9pm @ Washington University in St. Louis. It seems that the mainstream media is trying to change the truth, but I wanted to provide some facts.

The internet is a great vessel to get important information out…I wanted to provide you a hot off the press scoop, in hopes that you will share with others:

Tha Artivist With Some Jena 6 Fellas: (left to right) Bro. Tony, R2C2H2 and Bro. Marcus Jones (photo by r2c2h2)

Friday Oct. 26, 2007, I attended the "Strange Fruit: The Jena 6 Story" @ Washington University in St. Louis and it was a mind opening and numbing experience…Tha Artivist’s sister Molisa Thomas and her Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc sisters organized this great event…I, R2C2H2 Tha Artivist, also served as Master of Ceremonies at this historic event as well…There were also hundreds of eager people from the campus and the greater St. Louis Community who were waiting to hear the word from the true men of the hour…This was the first time that I ever met Bros. Marcus Jones, the father of Mychal Bell, and Tony Brown in person…Since late July I have been keeping correspondence with these strong and courageous brothers through the blessings of technology: the internet and cell phone…Needless to say these brothers did not disappoint...I found them both to be very humble, thoughtful and appreciative…I also found what they had to say to be every bit insightful, encouraging and yet very sobering…

Bro. Tony Brown and Bro. Marcus Jones, the father of Mychal Bell giving the crowd the current 411 on what's going down in Jena town. (photo by r2c2h2)

Bro. Tony who initially broke the Jena 6 story with the Hangman Noose Incident in September 2006 and who was responsible for coining the phrase Jena 6 is a radio personality out of Central Louisiana…He owns and produces his own radio show, Eyes Open With Tony Brown, which is the most popular call-in talk radio show in the state Louisiana and which can be heard five days a week from 6am-8am Central time in three states (Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi) and over 200 cities…

Bro. Tony, a proud Kappa, shows Black Greek Love to Sis. Molisa Thomas, a proud Delta. (photo by r2c2h2)

Bro.Tony Brown has provided over 100 hours worth of coverage of The Jena 6 saga using his radio show as a platform…It wasn’t until the BBC with award winning journalist Tom Mangold did an expose on Jena, La. in May 2007 entitled “The World: Race Hate in America”, that any attention was truly paid to this gross miscarriage of justice…Bro. Tony was also the one that met with the families and told them how to market their case outside of Jena…He told the families to call the young men "The Jena 6" which would be something that is memorable, catchy and will place an historical emphasis on the landmark perspective of this case (think Scottsboro 9, The Chicago 8, Little Rock 9, Panther 21 etc.,..)…He also put the families in touch with the U.S. Justice Department, ACLU, and the NAACP…

To me Bro. Tony is a true unsung hero and pioneer…He is continuing the tradition of some of the best Black journalism ever…He is definitely doing and carrying out the important work of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, William Monroe Trotter, and Frederick Douglass…I hope that he continues to be a guiding light for truth and justice!!!

Bro. Marcus Jones and Sis. Molisa Thomas (photo by r2c2h2)

Bro. Marcus is definitely going through probably the toughest ordeal in his life, his son whose life hangs in the balance of a White Supremacist “Just Us” infrastructure that seems to devour our Black youths and warehouse them as if they were items in a WALMART aisle waiting to be brought and exploited by the lowest bidder hasn’t really provided much comfort to the man who moved back to Jena from Dallas to be a true Rock of Gibraltar for his son…His love and commitment to his talented son strikes down the many stereotypes of Black men not caring for the welfare of their kids…Although Bro. Marcus and Mychal’s mom are not together, that didn’t stop Bro. Marcus from keeping a strong long distance relationship with his son…Whenever his son excelled on the football field and/or in the academic arena, one of the first people he would share the good news with would be his father…

When we were sitting in the hotel lobby at the Sheraton in St. Louis Friday night, Bro. Marcus and I started discussing baseball because the World Series just started earlier in the week…Bro. Marcus told me of his fondness for baseball and of his love for softball…When he started to talk his mind began to wander back to the time he was playing a softball game…His son Bro. Mychal, who was eight at the time, was in attendance…Somebody on the opposing team started to taunt Bro. Marcus when he came up to bat…Little Mychal, not liking anyone to disrespect his dad defiantly walked up to home plate and told his dad and the person taunting him that nobody can talk about his daddy that way and that he will be willing to hit for his father!!! When Bro. Marcus finished telling the story as if it happened just yesterday, it really struck a chord in me…It blew me away the love that his son had for his father and vice versa…And I can tell as he told this story how hurtful it feels that he couldn’t protect his son now the same way his son wanted to protect him…However, his son's life serves a grand purpose and it was an honor to finally meet the father of the son of the new American Civil Rights Movement for the 21st Century…

R2C2H2: Just One Of The Fellas (photo by callie herd)

This U.S. “Just Us” System Is Like A Schizophrenic Farmer…It seems to plant AND nurture its seedlings on one hand and yet destroys its own harvest with the other…This time around the Mad Farmer seems to have gotten a hold to one of its best and most promising fruits it could harvest or squander...However, thanks to grassroots organizing, passionate people who still believe, and the quick dissemination of information via the internet, Mychal Bell’s hopes of freedom are not as pessimistic as one might expect...However, although Bro. Marcus is very good natured and laughs when a joke or colorful commentary is made by yours truly, the strain of his son‘s life being toyed with as if it were a ball of yarn in the clutches of an unsavory feline has got to get to him…

Moving The Crowd Jena 6 Style: Bro. Tony Brown making the packed 609 Club audience in St. Louis aware that Bro. Marcus Jones, the father of Mychal Bell, is in the building. (photo by r2c2h2)

This was the first time ever that Marcus Jones and Tony Brown actually participated in a format together interacting with the public...From the responses afterwards it was received very, very well...If you are interested in having Bro. Marcus Jones and Bro. Mychal Bell come to your school, town, church, meeting, event etc.,…Please feel free to contact them by e-mail: (Tony Brown ) and ...You can also reach them by visiting Bro. Tony Brown’s radio show website

True Southern Gentlemen: Bro. Tony and Bro. Marcus introducing themselves to Sis. Adrienne Glore, the Dean of Student Activities @ Washington University in St. Louis. (photo by r2c2h2)

Some Quick Jena 6 And Just Us Facts:
1. The Judge in the case is the only judge for the town. He processes and presides over all legal cases and matters, be it Juvenile or Adult. He is the Judge that presides over all justice of the peace ceremonies, probate, lawsuits, etc.

2. The District Attorney Reed Walters is also the lawyer that defends the La Salle Parish School System or the school board. He was the one who recommended that all boys were expelled not only from the La Salle Parish Schools System, but the whole state of Louisiana along with them being put on trial in the criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system. This seems like a conflict of interest.

3. All of the boys have served a minimum of 4 months in jail before they got bail monies. In reality this should have been treated as a school fight within the La Salle Parish Schools System and handle in that manner with the punishment being given.

4.When the Appeals Court overturned the sentencing of Mychal Bell as an adult and he went to Juvenile Court after serving 10 months in adult prison, the Judge only gave him 1 day for the 10 months served and arrested him for violating his probation. And the Judge took the $45,000 in bail monies knowing that he was only going to give him a few days out of jail and charge him for parole violation.

5. The judge also is trying to make the parents of Mychal Bell pay $600 a month while he is incarcerated along with the court cost. Failure to meet this monthly payment will lead to the imprisonment of both Mychal Bell’s parents. This is being appealed.

6. Marcus Jones, Mychal Bell’s father, lost his job a few days prior to them going to court. This was done to insure that Marcus Jones would not have the money to pay his son’s monthly incarceration fees ($600 a month)

7. They are using the illegal release of Mychal Bell’s juvenile records to try to portray him as a risk to society. Many of his juvenile offenses have been misrepresented. For instance, one of the incidents was wrapping a car with toilet paper and the other one was getting into a fight with a basketball player. In reality these incidents should be dealt with on a school administrative/board level and without the intervention of the judicial system.

8. The State of Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the whole world.
Louisiana locks up more Black males than any state in the union known as the United States. Seventy-five percent of their prison population is African American. Sixty percent of those African Americans are imprisoned for non-violent offenses. The notorious Louisiana prison known as Angola still uses chain gangs to pick cotton.

9. In 2004, Louisiana spent $96,713 to incarcerate each child in detention, and $4,724 to educate a child in the public schools.

10. Mychal Bell in his 11th grade year had received over 10 scholarships for football. Some of them were UCLA and LSU. He has received many honors for his talent as a football player. Not long ago, Bell became the 1st African American football player in Louisiana to be selected for two combine games…These are games where talent scouts from the pros and college evaluate talent and rate players. It seems that Mychal Bell was well on his way to becoming a highly prized college recruit and professional National Football League player.

11. The following was stated: La Salle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters convinced an all-white jury of people who were more than twice the age of Mychal, that the 17-year-old's tennis shoes were his weapon of choice. During his trial no one gave testimony that they even saw Mychal kicked the so-called victim, Justin Barker. Many students say Barker taunted Bell all morning the day of the fight even using the term “nigger” profusely to describe Bell. Since then Justin Barker has been expelled for a year, according to Louisiana Law, for bringing a gun on the Jena High School campus.

12. The original lawyer for Mychal Bell, Blane Williams (who’s a Black man), was a public defender and he didn't call anyone in Mychal Bell’s defense.

13.) Coach Benjy Lewis, the only adult witness to the incident, stated that another student, Malcolm Shaw, was the initial attacker…He was only able to positively identify one other student, not Bell…Coach Lewis was not called to testify in Bell's trial.

14.) All six members of Mychal Bell's jury were white. The 150-person jury call included Black citizens, who make up 12 percent of the Jena's population, but none of the 50 potential jurors who showed up were black…One of the jurors was a high school friend of the victim's father.

15.) Mychal Bell’s father also talked about the lack of support from Jena’s Black community concerning the Jena 6…Many Blacks fear retaliation from Jena’s White community through the fear of losing their lives and jobs if they speak out or stand up…No place in town or Black Churches in Jena except for the one led by 25 year old Rev. Brian Moran of Antioch Baptist Church, would let the Jena 6 Defense Committee meet.

16.) Entertainment Mogul Tyler Perry, a Louisiana native, has donated full scholarships to any school of their choice for all Jena 6 defendants.

17.) Mychal Bell’s hearing is scheduled for December 6, 2007 (On his father’s Marcus Jones’ birthday) and Bryant Ray Purvis hearing is on November 4, 2007.

18.) There are only two Black owned businesses in Jena: a car wash and funeral home.

19.) There is only one Black person on the La Salle Parish School Board.

20.) Black residents are not allowed to participate in the political life of Jena meaning that they cannot vote for the mayor, alderman, city council, fire chief and/or school board because the Jena officials have the Black neighborhood zoned out of the city limits…They have a city ordinance saying that if you don’t live in the city limits you can’t vote…This also eliminates the Black community from getting federal and state grants…This is ironic considering that the Black neighborhood is considered Jena by the U.S. Postal Service due to zip code location.

21.) Black residents in Jena make up about 12% of the population of Jena which has approximately 3,000…This means that there are at least 360 Black folks living in Jena, La…About 85% of Jena’s population is White…

22.) Jena was named for Jena, Germany, where French Emperor Napoleon I won the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt in 1806.

Blackout Day Friday Nov. 2, 2007
Overall, there was much said at the program, but something else that should be mentioned is that on Friday, November 2, 2007 there will be a national "Blackout Day". We are asking everyone in support of the Jena 6 to not buy anything on that day and to wear black in support of the cause. They want you to continue to write and call your congressmen and senators to demand a federal investigation by the Justice Department into the way Blacks are imprisoned in Louisiana in general and the Jena 6 case in particular.

Jena 6 Caravan For Justice Friday Nov. 16, 2007
They will be having a caravan from Jena to Washington, DC on November 16, 2007 to meet with the Justice Department to request intervention in the Jena 6 case along with injustice anywhere.

Support The Jena 6 Defense Fund
The Jena 6 group is asking people that want to give donations for Jena 6 to donate it the Jena 6 Defense fund or NAACP or purchase shirts only from their approved vendor which is donating 30-40% to the defense fund. The website is located at: You can send donations as well as letters of support to the following address:

The Jena 6 Defense Committee

PO Box 2798,
Jena, LA 71342

A Legal Request
After talking to Marcus Jones personally I am asking students that are majoring in law to assist The Jena 6 in applying and finding the various laws that are in place to stop the Judge from using his kangaroo “Just Us” system. The Jena 6 also deserves The Dream Team treatment. Although you might be learning how to be a lawyer, this will be a good way to allow you to learn how to apply the law in real life situations.

Special Thanks
St. Louis and Wash U African and African American Studies students, George Warren School of Social Work and the Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and Roper’s Ribs (that was some great barbeque indeed!!!) were very gracious and gave them the royal treatment. Many volunteered invaluable time to help in this cause of correcting an injustice that should have never been.

Jena 6 Coverage On W.E. A .L.L. B.E. News And Radio
It is truly an honor to know that W.E. A.L.L B.E. News & Radio was among the first to help disseminate info on the Jena 6 to the masses using the internet...Please take advantage of the internet radio interviews and articles we were able to produce and gather detailing the different perspectives concerning this ongoing historical event.

Check Out More Jena 6 On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio:
10-07-07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show

09-30-07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show

09-23-07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show

08-05-07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show:

07/29/07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show:

More Jena 6 On W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:


10-26-07~Tha Artivist To Be Master Of Ceremonies @ Strangefruit:The Jena 6 Story Featuring Marcus Jones (The Father Of Mychal Bell) & Tony Brown

(click to enlarge image)

The Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Presents:

The Jena 6 Story

The Father Of Mychal Bell
ALEXANDRIA, LA Radio Personality

R2C2H2 Tha Artivist Is The Guest Moderator Or Master Of Ceremonies

When: Friday
October 26 , 2 0 0 7

Where: Lab Sci Building
Room 300 @ Washington University In St. Louis

Time: 6 : 0 0 P M

Admission: Free

Co-sponsored By:

The African American Studies Department
Of Washington University In St. Louis
Collegiate 100 HSSU Chapter
George Warren Brown School of Social Work

Check Out More Jena 6 On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio: