The Jena 6: Al Sharpton and Bobbie

The Jena 6: Al Sharpton and Bobbie


Rev. Al Sharpton joins the show via satellite.


"You think this is a racial issue in Jena, Louisiana?" Dr. Phil asks.

The reverend agrees. "I think it started in terms of the analysis of the district attorney's behavior, how he would not prosecute or even allow the school to give a reprimand to white students who hung nooses on a tree that black students had not been allowed to sit under until last September," he says. "You have what is clearly a hate crime with the nooses. You have an incident after that where a black student was beaten up. You have an incident after that where a white student

pulled a shot gun " none of these people were prosecuted, and [the Jena 6] were prosecuted as adults." He adds that he doesn't condone the beating of Justin Barker.

"What do you say to [the Barkers]?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I think that they are right to stand up for their son. I think what was done to their son is wrong," he says, "but as you just played on that tape, two wrongs don't make a civil right. I think the district attorney is using their son to try and not answer why he has not had equal behavior, when there's been other criminal activities." 

Bobbie Cornett, a teacher's aide at Jena Junior High School, says it's not her town that's racist, it's Reverend Sharpton who's coming in and creating problems in Jena. 


"All of these people were misled. We were labeled racist, and we know that we are not," Bobbie says on tape. "We don't care what color either was. A couple more kicks to that kid's head, and it could have killed him. Human beings in the 21st century do not do that to each other."


In the studio, Dr. Phil asks her, "Why do you say what you're saying?"


"Because our town wasn't racially divided before this happened. We were unified," she says. "Now we're divided, and when you're divided, the worst comes out from both sides." She points out the Bells may be getting threats to their family, but so are the Barkers. "They've labeled our district attorney a vill

ain because in the story, to make headlines, there has to be a villain. Our district attorney is doing his job. The case was not allowed to play out."

Sharpton responds, "I was called to the town by the parents and by those who were involved who felt there was a racial problem. So I responded to the call." Bobbie interrupts him, but he continues. "People say, ‘Why didn't I pay [Mychal Bell's] bail?' There is no bail. I would pay it today if he had a bail. The judge revoked the bail," he says. "They say that we said the prosecutor is wrong. The 3rd Circuit Court said he's wrong. His conviction was overturned, and the courts in Louisiana said he should not have been charged as a juvenile. You can't have it both ways."

"You're very good at what you do, but you're saying lies, half-truths," an agitated Bobbie says as she interrupts Sharpton.

Dr. Phil addresses Bobbie. "You have said that the Rev. Sharpton is a bully, and he's a weasel, and he's greedy," he says.


She denies calling him a weasel, but agrees that he's a bully. Responding to Sharpton's claims, she says, "You said that the three students who hung the nooses, that they were not aptly punished. Their punishment is not well-known. It was not a slap on the hand." She notes that they received a punishment from a committee through the school board. "You keep calling that a hate crime. A hate crime is a legal term. The district attorney wasn't involved in this," she continues. "I don't feel that it's my place to say what the punishment is. If you choose to believe me, it was much more than a slap on the hand." She asks Reverend Moran if he agrees with her.

Moran explains that the sign in front of his church was run over two hours after an NAACP meeting. "It was run over by two white young men, who were from the Jena area, by way of their uncle," he says. "That was a hate crime, but the DA told me that in order for it to be a hate crime, I had to prove that the sign cost $400 or more. It doesn't matter how much the sign costs. What matters is two white beings came and ran my sign over."

Dr. Phil addresses Sharpton. "You're saying, if a bail is set for this young man, that you would pay it, or cause it to be paid to get him out of jail," he says.

"Immediately, and I think that that would be the right thing to do," he says. "He's has done 10 months in jail as an adult. He's paid the price." Referring to Bobbie's statement that there was a secret punishment for the students who hung the nooses, he says, "That doesn't give comfort to people. Why is there a secret reprimand for putting up something that is tantamount to us as a swastika, but an adult attempted murder on these young men who are accused of beating Mr. Barker? If they did it, they ought to pay. But why does it have to be some secret non-court proceeding against a hate crime? That in itself is unequal, and I wish they would understand that."

Dr. Phil responds, "You and I agree that these boys should not have done what they did in terms of the violence, that they should be held accountable, but it should be an even justice."