The black teen at the center of a furor over legal racism remained behind bars - though charges against him were thrown out Friday - because the judge and prosecutor didn't come to a bail hearing yesterday, his lawyer said.
"We showed up. There was nobody there," said Bob Noel, lawyer for 17-year-old Mychal Bell of Jena, La. "No DA, no judge."
A woman who answered the phone at District Attorney Reed Walters' office said he had no bail procedure on his calendar.
A massive protest is planned for Thursday in tiny, rural Jena on behalf of Bell and five co-defendants who are known as the Jena 6. Other rallies that day include one outside Brooklyn Borough Hall.
"To imagine that in 2006, 2007, we're still fighting these fights is just incomprehensible," said Assemblyman Darryl Towns (D-Brooklyn) at a Jena 6 rally at City Hall yesterday.
An appeals court on Friday threw out the conviction of Bell, who was charged as an adult with attempted murder last year for punching a white classmate in a schoolyard scuffle.
The charges were later reduced to aggravated battery, a charge the appeals court said should have been dealt with in juvenile court.
Noel had filed a motion to have Bell released - or his $90,000 bail reduced - while the prosecutor mulls whether to appeal the overturning of Bell's conviction. He has two weeks to decide.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Washington should step in.
"We needed federal intervention to get into school in Little Rock [in the 1950s] and we need federal intervention now," he said.
All six black Jena football players were hit with heavy charges after a white student was punched and kicked at Jena High School on Dec. 4, one of a series of racial dustups that began when white students hung nooses in a school tree.
White students involved in similar fistfights were shown leniency.
Bell is the only one who has been tried. The other blacks still face trial on charges that are widely seen as overly harsh.
Organizers say at least 10,000 demonstrators will flood the mostly white town of 3,000 people.
Councilman Albert Vann (D-Brooklyn) organized yesterday's New York rally to keep the pressure on Louisiana prosecutors and set the stage for Thursday.
"There's a national spotlight now on Jena," he said.
via Black Amazon