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.
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 an estimated 15,000-plus demonstrators marched through Jena -- a town of about 3,000 -- 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."
Demonstrators at last week's march were protesting how authorities handled the cases of Bell and five other teens accused of beating fellow student Justin Barker.
Many said they were angry that the students, dubbed the Jena 6, were being treated more harshly than three white students who hung nooses from an oak tree on Jena High School property.
The white students were suspended from school but did not face criminal charges. The protesters said they should have been charged with a hate crime.
Bell's attorney Lewis Scott said the teen was moved from jail to a juvenile facility earlier Thursday.
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Friday, September 28, 2007
Posted by RipTheJacker at 8:17 AM