Jesse Jackson Slams Obama for “Acting Like He’s White” in Jena 6 Case

By Nitya

Sep 19, 2007 11:10am

ABC News’ Jonathan Greenberger and Susan Caraher report: After Rev. Jesse Jackson described Sen. Barack Obama as acting "white" following Obama’s response to the racially charged "Jena 6" case, Jackson Wednesday reaffirmed his support for the Illinois senator’s presidential bid.

‘[Obama] has remarkably transcended race," said Jackson.  "However the impact of Katrina and Jena makes America’s unresolved moral dilemma of race unavoidable. I think jena is another defining moment of the issue of race and the criminal justice system. This issue requires direct and bold leadership."

The State newspaper reported Tuesday Jackson saying at South Carolina’s Benedict College,"If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena."

Last week, Obama issued his first two statements on the case, which involved six black teenagers who were charged first with attempted murder, then battery, after their actions in a schoolyard brawl left a white teenager with a black eye and concussion.  The first of the six teens to be tried was convicted in July of aggravated battery and faced up to 15 years in jail. He was due to be sentenced later this month, although his conviction was overturned by a Louisiana appeals court last week.

In those statements, Obama called the case a "tragedy" and asked the district attorney to drop what he called "the excessive charges brought in this case." Obama later praised the appeals court’s decision in overturning the first teen’s conviction.

But when Obama was asked about the case a week earlier, on Sept. 5 at a campaign event in Storm Lake, Ia., he appeared visibly uncomfortable by the question and said the teens “appear to have been railroaded into a very difficult situation” but would not say what remedy he hoped to see in the case.

"My staff is right now looking into the details of the case to see potentially what role the federal government would have in sorting through and in providing justice there," Obama said at the time.

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