Mychal Bell, a black teenager accused of beating a white classmate and who was the last of the “Jena 6″ behind bars, was released from custody Thursday after a juvenile court judge set his bail at $45,000.
CNN reports that his supporters surround him on Thursday after his release at the LaSalle Parish courthouse.
Bell’s release followed an announcement from LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters, who said he would not appeal a higher court’s decision moving Bell’s case to juvenile court.
Wearing a blue striped golf shirt and jeans, Bell walked out of the LaSalle Parish courthouse a week after thousands of demonstrators marched through Jena to protest local authorities’ handling of the teens’ case.
“We do not condone violence of any kind, but we ask that people be given a fair and even chance at the bar of justice,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said outside the courthouse.
“Tonight, Mychal can go home, but Mychal is not out of the juvenile process. He goes home because a lot of people left their home and stood up for him,” he said.
“Let America know — we are not fighting for the right to fight in school. We’re not fighting for the right for kids to beat each other. We’re fighting to say that there must be one level of justice for everybody. And you cannot have adult attempted murder for some, and a fine for others, and call that equal protection under the law. Two wrongs don’t make one civil right.”
Bell, now 17, was the only one of the Jena 6 that was kept behind bars. His bond previously was set at $90,000.
CNN reports that a district judge earlier this month “tossed out Bell’s conviction for conspiracy to commit second-degree battery, saying the matter should have been handled in juvenile court. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles, Louisiana, did the same with Bell’s battery conviction in mid-September.”
Wednesday, Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced to the press that Louisiana State Police officers will offer protection to the families of the Jena 6, and investigate any threats they have received.
Allegedly a white supremacist Web site posted the names and addresses of the six black teens after last week’s march, calling on followers to “let them know justice is coming.”
The FBI is investigating the web site and its origins.Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.