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Jena Rallies Spark Threats and Intimidation Nationwide

Jena Rallies Spark Threats and Intimidation Nationwide

Published February 15, 2008

Posted Sept. 24, 2007 – Anybody who thinks that last Thursday’s rally on behalf of six Black Jena, La., teens was enough to at least put a damper on racist activity need only look at what’s been happening in the hours and days surrounding the biggest civil rights gathering in years.

In addition to two White males arrested for dangling nooses from their pickup truck shortly after the rally – allegedly trying to scare up a another fight from peaceful protestors – on Friday nooses were found swinging from a tree at a North Carolina high school, and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco now reports a spike in the number of national hate groups that are publishing private contact information of the “Jena 6” on the Internet.

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Among the groups that local, state and federal officials are watching closely is a neo-Nazi faction in Roanoke, Va., which, in addition to posting the names, urged its users to "Lynch the Jena 6," the Roanoke Times reported. The two Whites males with nooses tied to their truck – an 18-year-old driver and 16-year-old passenger with KKK tattooed on his chest – were taken into custody in Alexandria, La., 45 minutes north of Jena. The driver was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, driving while intoxicated and inciting to riot. Police said he also had a rifle in the back of the truck and brass knuckles on the dashboard.

Said Blanco: "Harassing families involved in the legal issues in Jena cannot and will not be tolerated. ... [A]nyone who stoops to such unspeakable persecution will be investigated and subject to the full penalty of law."

The Rev. Al Sharpton, no stranger to acts of intimidation, said, "Some of the families have received almost around-the-clock calls of threats and harassment since this Web site appeared, and to think that some person could actually harm or even continue to harass these families with no effort by law enforcement, will further exacerbate the tensions around this case immeasurably. Since our massive rally, there have been hangmen nooses found in several cities. The escalation has been met with a stubborn silence by officials in Jena, and we feel the governor must send in state law enforcement to investigate these threats and protect the public."

Did you think the Jena rally would cause racism to slow down for at least a day or so. Or did you think racist acts would increase as a result? Click "Discuss Now," to the right, to post your comment.

Written by BET-Staff

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