Criminal Justice

Stranger Posted Bell's Bond in Jena 6 Case

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Although he had never met Mychal Bell, a doctor living elsewhere in the state posted the bond the 17-year-old needed to get out of jail and return home to the tiny town of Jena, La. Meanwhile, others also offered to do so, too, according to Bell’s lawyer.

As a result, Bell, who is expected to be tried as a juvenile over an alleged attack last year by him and five other African-American high school students on a white student in Jena, was released from jail yesterday for the first time in 10 months, reports the Associated Press. Dr. Stephen Ayers, 42, of Lake Charles, La., posted 10 percent of Bell’s $45,000 bail to win his release. Although he himself is also black, he says it wasn’t race that motivated him to do so but fair play.

“I was concerned about what was going on up there and thought the district attorney was a bit harsh in his treatment of Mr. Bell,” says Ayers. “I really thought it was overkill.”

The case, which many see as emblematic of a racist justice system, has prompted both civil rights protests and a white backlash, as discussed in an earlier post.

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