U.S. official: Jena nooses were hate crime: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted October 16, 2007 3:28 PM
The Swamp

Donald Washington, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, testifies before House Judiciary Committee on Jena 6 case. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

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.”

“I was also offended” by the noose incident, Washington replied. “I too am an African American. I am a child of the 60s, of the desegregation era…But at the end of the day, there are only certain things that the United States attorney can do."

Events surrounding the prosecution of the first of the Jena 6 defendants to go to trial, Mychal Bell, 17, have drawn particular scrutiny from civil rights leaders and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Walters first tried to prosecute Bell as an adult and won a conviction on aggravated second-battery and conspiracy charges in June from an all-white jury in Jena, after a trial that featured one of the white youths who hung the nooses as a prosecution witness. But a Louisiana appellate court vacated that conviction in September, ruling that Walters and LaSalle Parish District Judge J.P. Mauffray had improperly tried Bell as an adult rather than a juvenile.

The appellate court then compelled Mauffray to release Bell, who had been jailed for nearly 10 months on the charges, on bail on Sept. 27. But two weeks later, Mauffray abruptly sent Bell back to jail, sentencing him to 18 months on four prior juvenile convictions for simple battery and criminal destruction of property.

“As we all know, it is illegal under the guarantees of our Constitution and our laws to have one standard of justice for white citizens and another harsher one for African- American citizens,” John Conyers, the chairman of the judiciary committee, said in opening the hearing. “We come to this hearing inquiring as to how we can correct this situation in our nation.”

A senior Justice Department official told the panel that conciliators from the department’s civil rights division had visited Jena several times in recent months and that officials were now considering whether further action is warranted.

“The Department of Justice is aware that there are requests to investigate the judicial system in Jena,” Lisa Krigsten, an official of the civil rights division, told the hearing. “At this time, the Justice Department is gathering information and reviewing that information and taking that request very seriously.”

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I don't understand what the big outrage is...the only one hurt was the poor white kid that was attacked from behind by a bunch of thugs(with previous)criminal records.
They almost killed that poor kid!
He's the victim!
This beating happened over a year ago,but things must have been slow for Al and Jesse,so they used their race baiting expertise to get themselves back in the news.


What kind of backward town is Jena where you have to ask permission to sit under a certain tree if you're black?

Apparently, the kind of backward town Paulo would like to live in.

This beating happened over a year ago,but things must have been slow for Al and Jesse,so they used their race baiting expertise to get themselves back in the news.


Posted by: Paulo | October 16, 2007 3:45 PM

Paula you border on racist with your comments. Not to mention ignorant. This is clearly a hate crime.

What about the young black kid that was hit in the head witha bottle by a grown man? He was given probation for his acts. I'd rather be hit with a fist than a bottle. You all keep it up. You are finally going to get what you've been asking for for over 500 years.

I am sorry, but what is right about having to ask to sit under a tree that is on school property; and did I miss the memo about it being ok to hang nooses in trees because is not, hateful, underminig, unoffensive, insensitive and unacceptable.

Please grow up and gain a brain, because of people who think like you and your above post, is why hate crime laws will now be forever changed.

Thanks Lasalle Parrish, national change is inevitible and equal justice shall now prevail.

Those in power must now abide by and prosecute all American citizens the same, wow and it took this case to pull the wool from over the eyes of America's injustices.


As a person of color myself I personally see the hangman's noose not a hate crime but a violation just as much as yelling fire in a crowded theater. But not a hate crime. I've been a victim of racist attitudes and acts myself but I firmly believe in the freedom of expression, including the freedom to express and hold beliefs you hate someone for as ignorant and despiteful a reason as color of skin, nationality or ethnicity. It's what we do to counteract that ignorance that we as Americans rise up to. It's a hate crime if white students physically bar and attack a black student from sitting under the tree but not their beliefs. We should refrain from knee jerk laws that only flame resentment and just start talking to those who hold different beliefs and values. Americans are supposed to be free to think and speak and feel in however manner they feel--no matter how ignorant, racist and vile they may be. It's the freedom to speak one's mind and open up an otherwise closed mind we should aspire to. Not instill laws to force them to change their minds.

2007 and we have issues like this...how far have we come as a society? We're trying to tell foreign countries to how to live and we can't get handle on racism? Maybe time to get a better handle of domestic/ socio-economic issues first. Paulo, I really hope you never have to face anything like that, no one should. I guess you are one of those people who think there is no racism. Right?

Tony, as a man of color myself, I think you are way off base. Is it okay when someone leaves a Nazi swastika near a Jewish home? Didn't laws have to be changed so that Japanese Americans would not be interned again? Didn't this country legislate to integrate public schools? Not all but some equality has to be enforced. I never heard of civil rights laws as a knee jerk laws. They put a noose up on a tree to deter black students from sitting there! Laws only give us guidelines but the judge and police interpreting and upholding the law has failed.

This is Racism for sure-

Hanging a noose in a tree is a clear racist statement.

Six black guys beating a white guy unconscious is an even clearer racist statement.

And now- the race baiters, Al and Jesse, are trying to relate the two incidents..when the beating took place 3 MONTHS after the nooses were hung, And after a black US attorney investigated the beating and found NO relationship between the noose hanging and the beating.

Those that want to relate these two horrible, racist incidents are using racism to push their agenda.

AL and Jesse should focus their attention on the facts.

For starters- be critical of the fact that NO black voters even responded to the jury summons- before you are critical of the conviction by an all white jury.

Be critical of the violent history that Bell had prior to this incident and was allowed to still be in school, play football etc..

But that wouldn't get them on TV then now would it?

I am a little confused by DA Washington's conclusory statement that hanging a noose under a tree is a hate crime. My understanding of hate crimes is that a violation of the criminal code takes place, then if circumstances dictate the motivation was race, the charges can be elevated to a hate crime. While I don't doubt that hanging of a noose is racially motivated, I'm not sure it violates any criminal provision. I think that was the point of the state's attorney in Jena. Put another way, if there is no underlying crime, you don't even get to the step where you analyze whether there was racial motivation.

Herbie H-

I would think that the inflamatory act of hanging nooses in a tree would come under the criminal category of Disturbing the Peace (unsettling of proper order in a public space through one's actions).

Let's look at it this way. 6 HUMANS BEATING ONE HUMAN. Take the skin part out and we can all agree that is is bad. The media has twisted it to make money.AL and Jesse and the jena 6 are making money hand over fist. But, no body wants to try the real crime of assault.I also want to point out that if a shoot is fired at someone and doen't hit them is it still attemted murder, Six on one is pretty difficult. Then again we got 6 black beatin a white kid in virginia must have been the white kids fault becasue he was white but i bet he never get new time becasue it was all caught on tape and no way to get the virgina 6 off.

The noose, the Stars and Bars, all of the 'The South Shall Rise Again' props are the American equivalent of Nazi propaganda.

The Stars and Bars is the American Swastika.

Southern apologists repeatedly try to say that the Confederate symbol is simply showing respect for the soldiers that fought and dies so bravely and honorably in the Civil War.

Bull Run ☁.

Well, many a SS storm trooper fought and died bravely for Hitler's cause. That don't mean I respect the Nazi symbol.

Let's not forget; These southern fighters tried to destroy the USA.

I do agree that the Jena 6 were 6 on 1 person. It isn't fair, that's for sure.

What also isn't fair is the fact that the hanging of a noose isn't viewed as racially motivated. Especially in the south, were hate crime laws are more lax than in other states. If an adult had hung those nooses, would it still be fair to call it a prank? It wouldn't be youthful, that's for sure. It would most likely be termed racially motivated.

It also doesn't seem fair that those highschoolers who hung those nooses just got suspended. Calling that a "youthful prank" just doesn't seem right. Those who think it's not an offensive symbol should open their minds to the feelings and views of others.

I am a highschooler, and I'm of a different race than almost everyone that goes to my school. If someone were to hang a noose in my school, they would definately be given a more harsh punishment than just a suspension. Thankfully, racially charged issues aren't an all-too-common occurance.

For those who think that everything that happened is ok, something just doesn't seem to fit. I'm not blaming anyone in this particular case, and both groups were in the wrong. The only thing that I see wrong is the way everything transpired.

And for all of you that seem to think only one certain group is in the wrong, please, grow up.

There was no black boy hit in the head with a bottle. The person who fought him, one-to-one turned himself in and posted bail. Since this is the first time he had been in trouble, he was put on probation. Judge Mauffray also ordered him to apologize in open court to the black boy he hit with his fist (which he did).

There has never been a "white" tree. Both black and white kids have always sat under the tree together, if they were friends who hung out in the same group. My son attended JHS last year but he did not hang out under the tree. He group included mostly white boys, but there were 2 or 3 of his black friends who hung out in his group. To hear the media, you believe these kids are enemies. They are not! These kids are friends and have been for many years, black and white.

If my son had been attacked by 6 boys and kicked in the head, I would want those boys to be punished. I do not care what color or race they were. This was a crime. Please do not say the nooses were the cause. The nooses were never mentioned as the cause in any of the statements the J6 gave when all this took place. The nooses only came into the picture the last few months, about March of this year.

Also, the about the flag. I lost two ancestors fighting for that flag. I honor it but I do not fly it because it would cause racist remarks from some people. My ancestors came to LaSalle Parish in the mid 1700-1800's, both sides. My family never owned slaves. The men in my family fought in the War only when the fight came to them, as did a lot of men in La. Many also fought for states rights, not slavery. Most of the slave owners here were wealthy men from the north who came here and built homes. There are no big plantations in LaSalle Parish.

I know most of the boys involved in this attack, both black and white. I know the others boys, if they do not have a previous record, will get probation. If Mychal Bell had not had 4 previous charges in less than one year, he would have gotten probation. The attack on Justin Barker was his 5th crime in less than a year. The attack he participated in was the 3rd time he had jumped someone in less than a year. That is why his probation was revoked. I pray not only for all the boys involved in the events that took place here, but all the kids in Jena.

* * * * *

Posted by: Herbie H. | October 16, 2007 6:12 PM

The U.S. Attorney said that the noose hanging incident was a federal hate crime. To determine if that is true we have to look at the federal hate crimes statute, which is Title 18 U.S.C.§ 245. In relevant part, that law defines a hate crime as the conduct of anyone who:


“(b) . . . whether or not acting under color of law, by force or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with—


“(2) any person because of his race, color, religion or national origin and because he is or has been—

“(A) enrolling in or attending any public school or public college;
“(B) participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility or activity provided or administered by any State or subdivision thereof;”


This law is not exactly a model of clarity owing to its being convoluted, and there are other portions which may equally apply. But, it does lay out the essential elements of the crime as: 1) the use of force or threat of force to injure, intimidate or interfere, or the attempt to do the same; 2) against a protected class of individuals (which, as relevant here, are people of a different race or color); 3) when those protected individuals are engaged in a protected activity. Arguably, the conduct of white kids hanging nooses on or about a tree, on campus, to intimidate black kids from sitting under it falls within that law.

First, a noose is certainly symbolic of lynching, which was once prevalent in the south to intimidate blacks to keep them “in their place.” Unfortunately, it is still used for that exact purpose on occasion. There can be no doubt that both the black and white students understood the nooses exactly in this context. Thus, hanging nooses arguably qualifies as a threatened use of force in order to intimidate others.

Second, the nooses were hung on the tree by white students after a black student asked whether he and some friends could sit under the tree. White students normally sat under the tree. Unless explained away by other evidence, this scenario demonstrates the second element: that the noose hanging was directed at black students in order to intimidate and dissuade them from congregating or sitting under the tree.

Third, the only question then is whether “sitting under a tree” on the school grounds constitutes a part of “attending any public school” or otherwise “participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility or activity,” provided or administered by the State. Well, the tree was on school grounds – meaning it was provided by the state for the use and enjoyment of all attendees. Thus, however tenuous it may sound to some, the availability of sitting under the tree was a “benefit” provided by the state that the noose hanging incident was intended to deny to black kids through intimidation. Either that, or the ability to sit under the tree like every other student was part of “attending any public school.”

Now I suppose some might not be impressed with the “criminality” of the white student’s conduct because it did not erupt in immediate violence or lead directly to bloodshed. And, indeed, their conduct arguably satisfied the elements of the federal hate crimes statute only minimally. However, as long as a person’s conduct satisfies the elements of a penal statute – at all – they have no ground to complain for their prosecution under it. Penal laws are intended to embrace all of those evils that are directly contemplated by its language. The federal hate crimes law clearly embraces threats as well as completed acts.

Therefore, the United States Attorney was not wrong in stating that the white students’ conduct constituted a federal hate crime. He was just not impressed enough with their conduct or other surrounding circumstances to press charges. All the white kids involved were under 18, none of them had any prior criminal record, and none of them were members of, or influenced by, a white supremacist/race hating group. The totality of the circumstances led him to believe that it was a matter best left handled by the State of Louisiana. Only now, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, are federal legislators questioning his judgment in the matter.

Good posting for this great old, sad tune. It took real guts to sing this song in 1938.

Lewis Allen/Billie Holiday

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.


This is just so irresponsible I don't know what to say...This man should be ashamed of himself for stirring up racial discord to make a dollar.

Does he know his audience is impressionable young people? Of course he does. He just doesn't care.


I am a white man. My office is located 1/2 block from an area where there once stood a building. There is a wall about 2 ft high running along a sidewalk. The "wall" as it is refered to, is a popular hangout spot for a dozen or so balck men during the day. I don't go down there to hangout. Do I have a right to? Certainly. If I did and they didn't like it an hund hate symbols pointed at me, would that be right? Certainly not. If this happened and I and 5 of my friends caught one black man and seriously beat him with no regard as to whether he would live or died, would this be justified? Certainly not. You know what? I DON'T GO DOWN TO THE WALL! They don't want me there due to the color of my skin, it's not right but it's life. I deal with it. They can have their space. I'll find another.

Thanks for the post, John W. I was under the mistaken impression that the federal so-called hate crime law was something of a sentence enhancer to an underlying crime, as opposed to a crime in and of itself. I agree with your analysis under the statute that there is at least enough to indict, and arguably to convict.

Nobody in the USA was afraid of nooses until recently when the media started telling us we should be. Noose Fear is a completely phony issue cooked up by the media and the federal government to erode your freedom of expression and to hide the real issue of the day which is that desegration has brought violence and harm to white citizens of all ages, even white children.

It is utterly amazing how no one has ventured to think that Mycal Bell has a record simply because of where he lives and his skin color and the white young men do not for the same reason. There is a very large probability that the white young men have been in trouble but received a slap on the wrist therefore there would be no record of their crimes no matter how small. This would be the reason that "they do not have records" and were not charged. By no means am I saying that it is okay to strike another person or treat someone with extreme malice, but in a world where the color of your skin dictates the treatment one receives we should always think outside of what we see or hear.

The white students would hang around the tree as if it was exclusionary toward black students.Well there is an organization called the black caucus that is exclusionary for whites!

So White people are the only people who committ racist acts? What a farce! New Orleans DA Eddie Jordon just lost a $3.5 million dollar lawsuit for firing over 60 Whites and replacing them with 60 Blacks when he took office. Try Black Ga. Sheriff Victor HIll who fired over 20 White deputies when he took office and then told them they would all be replaced by Blacks. Oh, he lost the lawsuit too. How about 50% of the nation's armed robbers being Black? And who perpetrate most of their crimes against Whites? I could go on and on but all that matters is a noose hanging from a tree, right? WHAT A FARCE AND I AM SICK AND TIRED OF IT!!!

Let's just take color out of it all together and ask ourselves why are some people charged with harsher crimes then other. Also, lets remember all the kids did not have criminal records. We are so quick to assume all kids of certain backgrounds are criminal and not just plain ordinary kids like all kids.

How about that? How good is it to see many come and voice their opinions about the bigotry and injustice/inequality that goes on in this, what we call, "The United States of America!!!" We are more like, The Divided States!!! Just because our states are joined, but yet separate because of a line that dictates what state has jurisdiction, doesn’t give us the right to be call “UNITED”. We as a people make this country “UNITED!” Well, we suppose to? But all you see is division… Man against man (including women), whether it be black against white, white against black, BLACK against BLACK (which is truly sad seeing we already have to deal with the threats of the world because of how we were and are still being portrayed), Oriental, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, the list goes on. But when this country was started, you had conquerors/discoverers/travelers who were trying to embark on new horizons. In the event of doing such, they committed some of the most heinous crimes. This is what America has been built on. This land of the “FREE” and home of the “BRAVE” has been no more than a slaughter house for those who couldn’t defend themselves. Why not take from the Indians who didn’t have all the hi-tech weaponry to protect or defend themselves. Why not go to Africa and rape and pillage and kidnap/enslave those who couldn’t do any better. Why not try and empower these continents seeing that they would bring the so called “NEW WORLD ORDER.” Who better at masking the world and pulling the Whoodini act better than Whites! I mean, it said!!! When you think about the Constitution and who it suppose to affect, it should be geared towards all men/women. But when you mix ignorance with bigotry, you get those who feel they can empower any type of movement, regardless of it being against the HUMAN CODE OF ETHICS….

See Jena 6 is just another case of misconduct, misunderstanding and lack of attention. I’m not going to elaborate on what the young white men did or what the young black men did, but the whole thing is wrong. A noose is not just some freedom of speech statement. That’s BS!!!! For those who are black & support that thought or don’t see what’s wrong with the picture, then let a number of burning crosses sit in from of your home with rocks thrown through your windows and see how it affects you. That is a similar scenario. For those who are white & support that thought or don’t see what’s wrong with the picture, let a group of angry black gangsters, panthers, civil rights activist stand outside your home ready to create hell for you and yours and see how it affects you. A noose symbolizes an acute time in American history that took the lives of many African Americans. Not to say that it didn’t affect other races, but mainly African Americans. To hang some one for no apparent reason was/is a hate crime. When you have to symbolize it, then it should be carried out the same as if you would perform the act. It’s called premeditation! If I walk around saying I’m going to blow up something or shoot someone, then I’d be arrested. Is that not the same ordeal? But, yet and still I can sit and say, “Well freedom of speech gives me the right to say that”, but it will not be viewed that way because my intentions are to hurt and/or destroy. The act of beating someone is not any better. I don’t condone the acts of any violence unless it’s in defense of self.

I am a supporter of my culture. I think African Americans have one of the greatest and richest heritages. What we fail to do is keep it that way. We get caught up in so much menial bull, like degrading ourselves and our women. Which, in turn bring on the many onslaughts that we deal with. If we can’t respect and stay true to our heritage, then why should we expect whites to? Why should we expect anyone to look at us as if we hold any value. We may deal with troublesome situations, but we have been enduring. Why give up one of the most precious resource we have? For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, then look at yourself in the mirror (look deep) and tell me what you see? You should see that rich history! You should see that founder, that creator, that successor. You should see that strength to endure!!! Not saying don’t fight for what’s right, but don’t allow yourself to fall for the tricks that the snakes in the grass put before you.

I pray for the families that have to deal with this situation and many that are similar. Mychael Bell, I can only reach out in prayer my brother. I traveled to Jena to support the cause. Not to be bias towards racial indifference, but for inequality/injustice. If any of his family reads any of these bloggs, or any of the families that dealt with this situation, my prayers go out to you as well. What we need to get in our heads is there is no dominant race!!! God didn’t create just one. So regardless of who was first or last, when it comes to that great judgment day, all will have something to account for, but race will not be one of the factors!!!


The three students who hung the nooses say they were unaware that nooses have a racial connotation. They claim they got the idea from the propular movies, Lonesome Dove, in which Texas Rangers lynch a group of outlaws. However, the Justice Department concluded the nooses were meant as a threat and would have constituted a hate crime if it had been committed by adults. The Justice Department investigation also determined there was not connection between the noose-hanging incident and the Jena Six attack on white student Justin Barker.

A few years ago, a revival of interest in the music of Billie Holiday and her song, Strange Fruit, generated articles that drew attention to the “lynch law” era that predated the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s, but these articles appeared mostly in scholarly journals, which most American don’t read. Copycat noose-hangings are now occurring across the country because few people associated nooses with racist sentiments until the Jena High School incident created national headlines.

Nooses can be racist or not, depending on the context. The hangman noose has been a symbol of dread and foreboding since the middle ages. It’s the card you don’t want to draw from a pack of Tarot cards. Hangman nooses have been incorporated into Halloween displays for decades. Halloween Magazine even post hanging skeletons and instructions for tying nooses on its website at www.halloweenmagazine.com. A few years ago, a woman committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree in her front yard. Unfortunately, she chose Halloween eve to end her life. Her body dangled for days in full view of passerbys who thought it was part of the Halloween decorations. Today, she would be cut down and charged with a hate crime.

Are we to ban such classic western movies as Lonesome Dove, The Hanging Tree, and The Oxbow Incident simply because nooses play an important role in them. The hunt for nooses is turning into a witch hunt with often ludicrous results. The U.S. Army announced yesterday that it had ended its investigation into a noose-hanging incident at Anniston Army Depot. The “noose” turned out to have been a tie-day that had fallen off a truck delivering supplies to the installation.

I know I am late on this topic but I still want to post my opinion. To whom ever said that the whites involved in the incident should not be charged for a hate crime I would have to say that you are very wrong. As an African American as you stated I am sure that you know all about our past and what others had to go through to have what little freedom that we have now! for that to be your opinion to me is belittling not only yourself but the entire race not is it only sad to see nooses hung but its hurtful, thats not just an everyday opinion but a racist one and as an african american girl who is only 18 and never experienced a thing like that in my life I feel very sorry for you and that is my "opinion." How do you think our ansestors would feel about you writing that?

First of all Justin Barker was not beat almost to death. He went to the hospital with a fucked up black eye, but was released within an hour, and attened a school function the same night of the fight. Furthermore, none of those racist kids were charged with the hate crime of hanging the nooses from the tree, which started the entire incident. In case you didn't realize this hanging a noose in the manner that was done is considered under federal law a hate crime. Those kids got a slap on the wrist, because they were minors and could not be tried as adults. Michal Bell was a 16 year old kid that was tried as an adult and convicted by an all white jury. If you don't see a problem with this I suggest you look up the definition of Jim Crow laws, and look into the case of Brown vs. the Board of education.

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