NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The FBI is reviewing a white supremacist Web site that purports to list the addresses of five of the six black teenagers accused of beating a white student in Jena and “essentially called for their lynching,” an agency spokeswoman said Saturday.
Sheila Thorne, an agent in the FBI’s New Orleans office, said authorities were reviewing whether the site breaks any federal laws. She said the FBI had “gathered intelligence on the matter,” but declined to further explain how the agency got involved.
CNN first reported Friday about the Web site, which features a swastika, frequent use of racial slurs, a mailing address in Roanoke, Va., and phone numbers purportedly for some of the teens’ families “in case anyone wants to deliver justice.” That page is dated Thursday.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement Saturday that some of the families have received “almost around the clock calls of threats and harassment,” and called on Gov. Kathleen Blanco to intervene.
A Blanco spokeswoman said the governor had asked law enforcement – primarily state police – to investigate.
“These people need more than an investigation. They need protection,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson said. He said his organization would be in touch with President Bush ‘s nominee for attorney general, Michael Mukasey.
“This is a test for the disposition of the Department of Justice to serve as an intervenor and a deterrent” to hate crimes and discrimination, Jackson said. He said federal marshals should protect the families.
Carolas Purvis, whose number was among three listed on the Web site, said she did not feel in danger. Purvis is the aunt of Bryant Purvis, who has yet to be arraigned. She said she has received a number of calls, some from people who say nothing, others to let her know that her number had been put on the site. One, Friday night, used the N-word to her young son, she said.
A dispatcher for the LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Department said no one in the office Saturday could say whether any threats had been reported.
Of the two other numbers listed as “active” on the Web site, one was not answered Saturday; the other yielded a constant busy signal.
On Thursday, thousands of demonstrators marched in a civil rights demonstration in support of the so-called Jena 6. The six black teens were arrested after a December attack on a white student – the culmination of fights between blacks and whites.
Of the six teens arrested, five initially were charged with attempted second-degree murder; charges for four have been reduced as they were arraigned. Charges against the sixth teen, booked as a juvenile, are sealed.
Mychal Bell is the only one to have been tried so far. A state appeals court recently threw out his conviction for aggravated second-degree battery, saying he couldn’t be tried as an adult. He remained in jail pending an appeal.
William A. “Bill” White, listed as the Web site’s editor and commander of the American National Socialist Workers Party, did not immediately answer an e-mail to his address. Calls to one of the two William Whites listed in Roanoke were not answered; the other said he was not involved with the site.
Blanco said Saturday that harassing families involved in the case “cannot and will not be tolerated.”
“Public attacks on private citizens done out of ignorance and hatred is appalling, and anyone who stoops to such unspeakable persecution will be investigated and subject to the full penalty of law,” she said in a statement.