Clinton said the Jena case is a 'teachable moment for America.'
(CNN)- Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, says the controversy surrounding the "Jena 6" court case is a "teachable moment for America."
"People need to understand that we cannot let this kind of inequality and injustice happen anywhere in America," the Democratic presidential hopeful told Rev. Al Sharpton when she called into his nationally syndicated radio program Tuesday afternoon.
She was speaking about a case in the town of Jena, Louisiana, where six African-American teenagers were initially charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit attempted murder in connection with the Dec. 4 beating of a white student.
Last Friday, the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Lake Charles, Louisiana threw out the conviction for second degree battery against one of the boys, Mychal Bell, saying the charges should have been brought in juvenile court. Charges against Bell were reduced, as were charges against Carwin Jones and Theodore Shaw, who have not yet come to trial. Bryant Purvis and an unidentified juvenile remain charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
The New York senator said she has put a request into the Bush administration to ask the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department to investigate the case because, "we have a responsibility to confront racial injustice and intolerance anywhere." She said she did so because she was troubled by reports that the youths were charged and sentenced in a manner that may have been inconsistent with what was called for.
On Thursday, thousands of people are expected to march on the small central Louisiana town to protest what they feel are excessive criminals charges and bond amounts for the teens.
–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford