Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jena Six Update - Judiciary Committee Hearings

Per The Chicago Tribune:

U.S. official: Jena nooses were hate crime
by Howard Witt

Under pointed questioning from Democratic House members who decried the lack of federal intervention in the racially-charged Jena 6 case, U.S. Justice Department officials revealed Tuesday that they are now weighing an investigation into allegations of systemic racial bias in the administration of justice in the small, mostly white Louisiana town.

U.S. Attorney Donald Washington also said for the first time that the hanging of nooses from a shade tree in the Jena High School courtyard in September, 2006, by three white students—a warning to stay away from the tree directed at black students that triggered months of interracial fights in the town—constituted a federal hate crime, but that federal authorities opted not to prosecute the case because of the ages of the white youths involved.

Jena school officials dismissed the noose incident as a youthful prank and issued brief suspensions to the white students involved, angering black residents of the town.

“Yes, hanging a noose under these circumstances is a hate crime,” Washington, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, told a House Judiciary Committee hearing convened to examine the Jena case. “If these acts had been committed by others who were not juveniles, this would have been a federal hate crime, and we would have moved forward.”

But during the four-hour hearing boycotted by most Republican members of the House panel, many African American committee members said they remained dissatisfied with the reluctance of Justice Department officials to intervene more forcefully in what they regard as the excessive prosecution of six black Jena students for a Dec. 4 attack on a white student.

The white student was briefly knocked unconscious and was treated and released at a local hospital, but Jena District Attorney Reed Walters initially charged the black students with attempted murder. After public outcry about the case mounted, Walters reduced the charges to aggravated second-degree battery.But Walters’ refusal to charge other whites in the town who attacked blacks with similar crimes prompted national civil rights leaders, joined by more than 20,000 demonstrators who marched through Jena on Sept. 20, to assert that the town’s justice system was biased.

"Shame on you!" Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) shouted at Washington, the first African American to hold the U.S. attorney’s post in western Louisiana. "Mr. Washington, tell me why you did not intervene? Six broken lives could have been prevented if you had taken action.”

Rest of the article is Here.

Oh, so NOWWWWWWWWWW you see that the nooses were a hate crime.

Negro, Please.

I will not even comment on the Republican members who chose not to be there.

Watch The Hearing Below

Watch Part 1

Watch Part 2

(video may only be available for approximately 2 weeks after Hearing date of Oct. 16th, 2007)

Hear a related NPR Interview with Charles Ogletree

1 comment:

Brian said...

I'll post the video for you in a minute... if I can find it.