Lawmakers: Government Needs to do More to Fight Racism

CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- Democratic lawmakers say the Jena Six case shows the government needs to do more to fight racism.

Charges filed against six black teenagers after a school fight in a small Louisiana town have drawn national attention. The fight happened after nooses were hung from a tree on a high school campus.

Donald Washington, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, told the committee the Department of Justice has opened investigations into noose-hanging incidents in five states. He called the noose "a powerful symbol of hate and racially motivated violence," adding that it can be the basis for prosecution.

In the Jena case, however, Washington said officials didn't prosecute because the white students who hung the nooses were juveniles.

That drew a rebuke from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. The Texas Democrat said the federal government has been failing to fully enforce civil rights laws for years, adding "shame on you."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 10576406 -