Posted by: communitycop | September 29, 2007

Free at Last! Jena 6 Teen Released on Bond

With a crowd cheering him on, Mychal Bell walked free on bond Thursday after 10 months behind bars.

While last week’s demonstration of thousands for the Jena Six in Louisiana obviously prompted action seven days later, it could not pardon the teen, who was originally charged with attempted murder in the beating of a classmate.

Bell will return to juvenile court Tuesday, charged with aggravated second-degree battery.

Bell was released on $45,000 bail Thursday after the prosecutor dropped an attempt to try the 17-year-old as an adult on charges of aggravated second-degree battery in the beating of a white classmate, according to The Associated Press.

“Mychal can go home. But Mychal is not out of the juvenile process,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said Thursday, standing next to Bell at a news conference in front of the Jena courthouse.

Bell’s conviction as an adult was thrown out earlier this month by an appeals court, which ruled Bell could not be tried as an adult. According to the AP, that decision led to Bell’s release. But one day after the Jena demonstration, another judge refused to release Bell or lower his $90,000 bond that his family was unable to meet.

District Attorney Reed Walters has been criticized for prosecuting blacks more harshly than whites and for not pressing charges against white teens who hung nooses from a schoolyard tree months before the racially charged fight that sparked the Jena Six case. Remember, Walters was the one who first charged some of the teens with attempted murder.

Also this week, the Congressional Black Caucus talked about getting the Justice Department involved to investigate civil rights violations in the case.

The families of the Jena Six have been hit with death threats after a white supremacist Web site allegedly published their addresses and phone numbers. The FBI is investigating the matter.


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