Wednesday, February 06, 2008
One of the Jena Six assailants was charged Wednesday February 6th, 2008 with one count of assault causing bodily injury for fighting with a fellow student at his high school in Texas, his mother said. Full story published in the Shreveport Times, also aired by KXAS Channel 5 in Dallas.
Bryant R. Purvis (pictured at left), 19, who now lives in the Dallas area pending his March trial in Louisiana, was being held in the Carrollton, Texas, jail without bail pending a bond hearing Thursday morning. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a $4,000 fine and a year in jail.
Tina Jones, Purvis’ mother, said her son got into an altercation with another student at Hebron High School early Wednesday after being told the student had vandalized his car the night before. “I wish he could just get in a place where he could walk away from the situation,” Jones said of her son. “I understand he gets frustrated. But he needed to walk away from this situation, being that he’s already in a situation. It’s very frustrating and upsetting to have to go through so much.”
Jones said what happened really wasn’t a fight. Purvis went up to the other student, “grabbed him by the collar and pushed his head on the table, talking to him,” she said. “Bryant was very upset because he had a (basketball) game Tuesday night and, when (he went out to his car after) the game, someone made both tires on the passenger side flat,” Jones said. “And (Wednesday) morning, someone told him who done it. That’s the reason the altercation happened. And a few days before that happened, he was driving my brother’s truck and someone stole the tires and busted the windows out of it,” she said.
Alberta Norman, a parent of another Hebron Hawks basketball player, said she was surprised when her son told her about Purvis’ arrest. “Bryant was a good kid,” she said. “He was having a great year. Kids, sometimes they make bad decisions. We’re just sad about it. He had come out of his shell and was really enjoying himself.”
Purvis will receive school discipline as well. He will be suspended for three days and will face 10 days of in-school suspension. After that, he will be back in school normally.
Purvis is scheduled to go to trial March 24th in Jena before LaSalle District Court Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. in connection with the Jena High attack. He faces one count each of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same. If convicted of both, he faces a maximum sentence of 22.5 years in prison. However, his attorney, Darrell Hickman, believes his chances of acquittal are good because only one of the numerous witnesses to the mob assault on Justin Barker identified Purvis as a participant in the assault.
Until the trial, Purvis' mother said she sent him to live with his uncle, Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher, so he could stay out of trouble and out of the limelight. Purvis stayed out of the spotlight for most of the year following the high-profile case but appeared on Black Entertainment Television’s Hip-Hop Awards. Purvis and fellow defendant Carwin Jones helped present the Video of the Year award during the show in October. Hatcher had no comment about Purvis' arrest.
Carrollton police officials wouldn’t release any information about the arrest Wednesday evening, saying information would have to come from the public information officer Thursday morning.
In a related story, there have been no further developments in the proposed Federal prosecution of 18-year-old Jeremiah Munsen, a white man accused of driving past a group of black civil rights activists with two nooses dangling from the back of his pickup truck after the Jena Six demonstration on September 20th, 2007. Munsen was indicted on federal hate crime and conspiracy charges on January 24th, 2008. If convicted, Munsen could receive a maximum of 11 years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
"It is a violation of federal law to intimidate, oppress, injure or threaten people because of their race and because those people are exercising and enjoying rights guaranteed and protected by the laws and Constitution of the United States," said Donald W. Washington, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.
Munsen was initially booked on state charges of inciting a riot, driving while intoxicated and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, a 16-year-old boy who was with him. It has not been revealed if the 16-year-old will be charged in the case.
Commentary: No surprise that Purvis got into a fight. Maybe the LaSalle Parish District Attorney knew what he was doing when he initially charged him and the rest with attempted murder. But then again, he's already 19 years old and still in high school, so he's a bit slow off the mark.
The proposed Federal prosecution of Jeremiah Munsen on Federal hate crime charges is outrageous. The Feds were seized by such bloodlust that they couldn't even wait for Louisiana to pursue its charges first. This 18-year-old kid is no felon; he's just a young man who got a little too carried away. Frankly, he deserves NO jail time. Continued over-reaction like this by the Feds will blow back on them in the near future; the Federal government is proving to be one of the most oppressive entities on the face of this earth.