NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Authorities have increased patrols in and around Jena amid concerns over the safety of the families involved in the case of six black teenagers accused of beating a white student, a sheriff said Monday.
Extra patrols began several days ago, LaSalle Parish Sheriff Carl Smith said.
Last week a Web site featuring a swastika and racial slurs had posted what purported to be the addresses of five of the six teens and phone numbers for some of their families “in case anyone wants to deliver justice.” The posting was dated Thursday, the same day thousands of people marched in Jena to protest racial inequality and what they saw as overly harsh charges against the six black teens.
The Louisiana State Police has sent three investigators to help local law enforcement look into any possible threats, agency spokesman Lt. Lawrence McLeary said. So far, the calls reported have been of a more “derogatory nature,” he said.
The U.S. Dept. of Justice and the FBI are aware of the threat allegations, said Brian Roehrkasse, a justice department spokesman.
Smith and other local officials, including the Jena police chief and mayor and the county district attorney, issued a statement saying threats had also been made against the student who was beaten. In the statement, they denounced all of the threats.
“Such vile and cowardly acts will not be tolerated in Jena or LaSalle Parish,” the statement read.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.