Rev. Jackson, Others Say Jena Justice Is Too Slow

Published February 15, 2008

Posted Oct. 1, 2007 – Rev. Jackson and others say Jena Justice is too slow. Black leaders say that the federal government is dragging its feet when it comes to delivering justice in the “Jena 6” case.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, and representatives of the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law met with top Justice Department officials Friday regarding the rise in death threats and intimidation emanating from the racially charged case involving the six Black teens accused of beating a White schoolmate.

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"It was a very disappointing meeting," Jackson said following his meeting with Rena Comisac, interim director of the Justice Department's civil rights division. The Justice Department has failed to "enforce the law" by taking legal actions against those perpetrating hate crimes and threats of violence, he said.

Said NAACP Chairman Julian Bond: "We see kind of a spreading virus from jena outward in the country. These copycat crimes, the spread of noose hangings around the country, it's not a good thing to see happen in your country."

On Thursday, 17-year-old Mychal Bell, pictured above, was released from jail in Jena, La., a week after tens of thousands of protestors poured into the tiny town of about 3,000 residents to speak out against the harsh prosecution of him and the five others. They also showed up to draw attention to what many say is an justice system whose goal is to incarcerate as many Blacks as possible for as long as possible.

The civil rights leaders’ meeting with Comisac came a day after Bell’s release.

They want the Justice Department to charge the Whites who hung the nooses at Jena High School – an act that many blame for sparking the fight that landed the Jena Six in jail – as well as other hateful acts that have emerged since the Jena rally. But that is unlikely, some say.

"They said the investigation arising out of the original hate crimes incident was in fact closed," Marc Morial, National Urban League president, told The Associated Press. Reed Walters, the district attorney who charged the Jena 6, has also said he could find no state law to charge the White students with a hate crime.

Do you think the Justice has enough info to start charging somebody with hate crimes?  Click "Discuss Now," to post your comment.

Written by BET-Staff

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