Oakland, CA- The organization that led the online mobilization in support of the Jena Six today applauded news that five of the young men have pleaded no contest to greatly reduced charges—a development the group called a just resolution to the racially-charged case. Though the defendants had initially been charged with attempted murder and conspiracy, they ultimately pleaded no contest to simple battery, and will serve a sentence of just 7 days of probation.
ColorOfChange.org said Friday that the plea deal marked an acknowledgement by officials that the Louisiana justice system initially treated the then-teenage boys too harshly, privileging white students’ accounts of a schoolyard fight over those of black students in the largely segregated town of Jena.
“Today’s plea deal shows that the original charges in the case were unfair and vastly overblown,” said James Rucker, ColorOfChange.org’s executive director. “The story of the Jena 6 was an extreme example of what can happen when a justice system biased against black boys operates unchecked. But it’s also an example of what can happen when hundreds of thousands of people across the country stand up to challenge unequal justice. Together, we drew the country’s attention to this case and raised the money necessary to fund a strong legal defense.”
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