(Posted September 14, 2007)-After months of racially heightened tension, a state appeals court dropped all charges Friday against one of six African-American high school students accused of beating a white student.
Called the Jena Six, the students from Jena, a small town in Louisiana, had been charged with attempted second-degree murder in an alleged attack against fellow student Justin Barker. News reports stated that the alleged attacks occurred after Barker spouted racial slurs at the boys.
According to the Associated Press, an official for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana said that one of the students charged in the case, Mychal Bell, 17, should not have been tried as an adult. Bell’s prior conviction of aggravated battery was tossed out early Friday evening, the same day that he was to have been sentenced.
Along with Bell, who was 16 at the time of the incident, five other Black students were arrested in connection with the case. The remaining five students have not been tried. Civil rights leaders, including the Reverend Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, have called for a rally in support of the teens.