Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sen. Landrieu Calls for Reconciliation Following Dismissal of Jena 6 Conviction and Requests Justice Dept. Review

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D- La., called for reconciliation and clarity on Friday in the case of six African-American high school students accused of assaulting a white classmate following months of racially motivated incidents at their Jena, Louisiana, high school. The June conviction of one of the students, 17-year-old Mychal Bell, on a reduced charge of aggravated assault was earlier this afternoon overturned by the Louisiana Court of Appeals.

"There remains unsettled allegations of unfair treatment of those indicted," Sen. Landrieu wrote in a letter today to the U.S. Department of Justice. "These allegations have divided the community and caused concern throughout Louisiana and the country."

"I believe that the charges and counter-charges have left everyone unsure and uneasy. In order to attain real reconciliation in Jena, we need to bring clarity to the facts of these allegations and to the handling of all events leading up to the assault. I believe it is appropriate for the Department of Justice to conduct a thorough review of these cases and establish a comprehensive public record of the facts. It is vital for the people of Jena, my state and our nation to have full confidence that justice has been served in this matter."

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