Jun 20, 2011
Catrina Wallace, a black mother of three from Jena, Louisiana was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison on trumped up charges. Wallace’s prosecution was aimed at exacting retribution for the role she had played in organizing a massive campaign of protests in defense of black students who were themselves victims of racist attacks in this small Louisiana town run by racist politicians.
In 2007, after several black students sat under a tree designated by white students as “for-whites-only,” three nooses were hung from the tree. The principal expelled three white students responsible for the nooses, but the school board reinstated them, calling it a “harmless prank.” The district attorney, Reed Walters, refused to charge them with anything, saying they broke no laws.
But when black students organized a protest to defend themselves, District Attorney Reed Walters told them, “I can end your lives with the stroke of a pen.”
And that’s exactly what Walters tried to do as he prosecuted the black students on trumped up serious charges and as he is trying to do with Wallace today.
She, along with about a dozen others, were hounded in the middle of the night, in a supposed drug raid. Their homes were invaded, torn apart, yet no drugs nor any physical evidence was found. They were convicted based solely on the word of a convicted drug dealer – meaning it was a police frame-up. Wallace, because she had played an important role in organizing the earlier protests, was especially targeted.
She had never been charged before with any crime; there was no evidence against her. Nonetheless, she was charged with drug distribution and given three five-year sentences to run consecutively, which are almost unheard of in the kind of drug case the police pretended they had.
It’s clear there was a political motivation behind her prosecution. Racist officials in Jena wanted to exact revenge for her participation in the earlier protest campaign, which had freed the black students Walters tried to imprison.
The demonstrations that took place in Jena in 2007 pushed back racists like District Attorney Walters. Jena, Louisiana racists are now trying to turn the clock back.
Catrina Wallace will be saved in exactly the same way she helped save the earlier victims – by the population opposing its forces to those of the legal lynchers.