Just weeks after being released from prison, Mychal Bell, one of six Black teenagers from Jena, Louisiana, arrested for allegedly beating a White teen during a school-yard brawl, is back in jail for violating his probation, according to the Associated Press.
Bell was imprisoned immediately following a December 2006 fight with a White student; his case caused a national uproar. On Thursday, according to the Associated Press, Bell returned to juvenile court expecting another hearing. Instead, he was sentenced to 18 months in jail for violating probation associated with previous charges of simple battery and criminal destruction. Details on the earlier charges are still unclear. Bell’s attorney told reporters she will appeal.
Back in September, supporters anxiously waited outside the LaSalle Parish Courthouse, where Bell, 17, was released on $45,000 bond. He had spent 10 months in adult prison.
Bell was one of six Black teenagers charged with second-degree attempted murder. He was the only one to stand trial.
In June, he was convicted in adult court of aggravated assault and conspiracy, facing 15 years in prison, but this month his conviction was overturned on the grounds that he had been improperly tried as an adult.
Last month, tens of thousands of supporters, most of them African American, flocked to the small town of Jena to protest the treatment of the young men.
The story has sparked controversy and widespread activism because of what many believe to be excessive punishment for a school brawl.
District Attorney Reed Walters announced he would not appeal the ruling that threw out Bell’s adult conviction, but he will pursue the charges in juvenile court. If convicted, now he could only be imprisoned until his is 21. Five other boys are still awaiting trial.
Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon