Fact Sheet: Jena Six Cases

Document Date: September 17, 2007

Dennis Parker, Director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, discusses the Jena Six and larger issues of racial injustice

Tory Pegram of the ACLU of Louisiana blogs on the Jena Six Case

Dennis Parker and King Downing talk about the Jena Six march on the Diane Rehm Show

The American Civil Liberties Union has serious concerns about the possibility of racially-motivated unequal treatment in the Jena Six cases, in which six black high school students were charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder for fighting with a white student last year in Jena, Louisiana.

The ACLU supports the call for justice in the Jena Six cases.

  • The ACLU sent a call to action urging the public to ask Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti to thoroughly examine the actions of Jena’s District Attorney, Reed Waters, to determine whether or not prosecutorial misconduct has taken place.
  • We are particularly concerned about possible discriminatory and disparate treatment of the Jena Six in their criminal justice proceedings.
  • The ACLU and ACLU of Louisiana continue to thoroughly monitor the events in these cases to protect the civil rights of the Jena Six and their families.

The ACLU is working on the ground with the families and the community toward achieving justice.

  • From the beginning, we have been working closely with the families of the Jena Six, helping them to set up a defense committee and fund, and with their demonstrations.
  • We are assisting the Jena Six families and the LaSalle Parish community with today’s demonstration in Jena that has drawn thousands of people from across the country.

The ACLU is concerned that the Jena Six cases may be symptomatic of larger racial justice problems in Jena, LaSalle Parish, and elsewhere in Louisiana, and we are investigating.

  • The ACLU of Louisiana filed an “open records request” seeking all arrest and incident reports, broken down by race, for LaSalle Parish and Jena High School specifically, to uncover the frequency of law enforcement visits to the school and charges issued to its students.
  • District Attorney Walters stonewalled the ACLU’s “open records request” for months. He took the extraordinary step of suing the ACLU of Louisiana in state court so he would not have to comply with the order, but recently released some documents. The ACLU of Louisiana is currently reviewing them.
  • We are working with the Jena Six families and with others in the community to identify other possible racial injustices and constitutional violations. Examples include racial profiling and issues around the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

> Background: Jena Six Cases
> Demand Justice for the Jena Six
> Treatment of Jena Six Raises Questions of Racial Injustice (9/14/2007)
> School-to-Prison Pipeline
> Racial Justice: Education
> Stand Up! for Youth Rights

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.