David Bowie has donated $10,000 to a legal defense fund for six black teens charged in an alleged attack on a white classmate in the tiny central Louisiana town of Jena.
The British rocker's donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund was announced by the NAACP as thousands of protesters were expected to march through Jena on Thursday in defense of Mychal Bell and five other teens. The group has become known as the Jena Six.
“There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena,” Bowie said Tuesday in an e-mail statement. “A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented.”
Bell was found guilty on second-degree battery charges June 28 by a six-member, all-white jury. Before the case was overturned by the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, his sentencing had been set for Thursday.
The court said Bell, who was 16 at the time of the alleged December 2006 beating, shouldn't have been tried as an adult.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who helped organize the march, planned to do his syndicated radio show from Alexandria on Wednesday, then travel about 35 miles to Jena in an attempt to visit Bell, who remains in jail because he is unable to post $90,000 bond.
Sharpton says he expects more than 10,000 marchers.
“We are gratified that rock star David Bowie was moved to donate to the NAACP's Jena campaign,” National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement. “We hope others will join him.”