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Victim In "Jena Six" Beating Files Suit

The family of Justin Barker, the victim in the "Jena Six" racial beating case in Louisiana, has filed a civil lawsuit against the local school board, the parents of the six young men accused of beating him and the adult members among the six.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 29 in state district court, the Alexandria Daily Town Talk newspaper reported.

The case and its racial overtones, sparked by the hanging on campus of nooses, a traditional symbol of lynch mobs, have attracted the attention of U.S. civil rights leaders, who led a large protest and said the original charges against the Jena Six were too strict.

David and Kelli Barker and their son allege that seven Jena High School students attacked Justin on Dec. 4, 2006, as he walked out of the school's gym.

The suit names the attackers as Mychal Bell, Jesse Beard, Theo Shaw, Bryant Purvis, Carwin Jones and Robert Bailey Jr., as well as a seventh student who has not been officially named by law enforcement as a part of the attack.

The lawsuit alleges that school employees were not adequately supervising students or maintaining discipline.

The Barkers are asking for a jury trial.

Bell pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor second-degree battery charge and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. The other members of the Jena Six are awaiting court appearances.

Barker spent several hours in the emergency room after the attack but was discharged and attended a school event the night after the attack.

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