Victim’s Family Sues in ‘Jena 6’ Beating Case

Town Talk (Alexandria-Pineville, Louisiana), December 5, 2007

The family of a white student allegedly beaten by six black classmates in rural Louisiana has filed a civil lawsuit against the teens’ parents, the adult teens, an additional student and the local school board.

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Justin Barker, 18, and his parents, David and Kelli, allege in the suit that seven Jena High School students attacked Justin on Dec. 4, 2006, as he left the school gym.

The suit names the attackers as the “Jena Six” students—Bell, Bryant Purvis, Robert Bailey Jr., Carwin Jones, Theo Shaw and a juvenile—as well as a second juvenile.

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“Petitioners show that Justin was singled out by Mychal, Bryant, Robert, Carwin, Theodore (and the two juveniles), and that the malicious and willful attack of Justin was of such extreme nature so as to require emergency medical care and treatment for the harm inflicted by the attack, and resulting in extensive and permanently disabling injuries,” the lawsuit states.

Barker was hit by Bell, knocked unconscious and then repeatedly kicked and stomped by a group of students, according to testimony and court documents.

The beating was preceded by racial incidents, including three white students hanging nooses from a tree.

The civil suit was filed Thursday. The lawsuit alleges that the LaSalle Parish School Board, through its employees, was not adequately supervising students or maintaining discipline.

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