Mychal Bell, Jena Six Icon, Arrested on Shoplifting Charges, Reportedly Shot Himself in Chest

After so many people championed the cause of Jena Six, the last thing I expected to hear was that Mychal Bell, 18, was in trouble again. According to the Newsstar, Bell is free on bond following a Christmas Eve arrest on multiple charges, including shoplifting, resisting arrest and simple battery, related to an incident at Dillard’s in Pecanland Mall. Bell was arrested less than one month after he completed a sentence for his role in the beating of a fellow classmate, Justin Barker, at Jena High School in 2006.

Police said Bell and an unidentified male were spotted Wednesday by store security after they placed $370 worth of merchandise in a Dillard’s shopping bag. After the two separated, Bell left the store, was followed by a security officer, and began running through the parking lot. Police said Bell was discovered under a vehicle in the Sears parking lot. Lt. Jeff Harris said Bell began “swinging his arms wildly” and delivered a glancing blow to the security officer with his elbow.

Bell was booked into Richwood Correctional Center and released on $1,300 bond. He will be arraigned at a later date. Each of the charges carries a possible penalty of up to six months in jail. Louis Scott who has represented Bell in the past said that preconceived notions on the part of Dillard’s employees may have played a role in Bell’s arrest. “Dillard’s has a tradition of being overly suspicious of young black males,” Scott said. Scott said that personal and court experiences have led him to that conclusion. “He should at least have the presumption of innocence,” he said.

Dillard’s has been accused racial profiling in lawsuits in Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky and Georgia. A Dillard’s store manager in Monroe referred requests for comment to Roger Williams in the company’s Little Rock, Ark., office. A spokesperson who answered the phone in William’s office said he would have no comment on the matter. Scott has not been contacted to represent Bell on the current charges.“I am predicting that once all the facts are established, he probably will not be guilty,” Scott said. “There has been more put on this young man than anybody can bear — people trying to provoke him, trying to make him react.“If he was going to break the law, I believe he would have done it before.” Source: The Newsstar

I also read that he shot himself in the chest, but the wound is non-life threatening. Now, this young man should behave himself and watch the company he keeps. I am reminded of Rodney King and the widespread support he received for the brutal police beating he endured. After the dust settled, Rodney King never really changed his ways. He continued to have brushes with the law. OJ Simpson also comes to mind. He was acquitted in the murders of his wife and Ron Goldman, but he just couldn’t change his attitude. His sociopathic behavior helped to land him in prison for a long time. People are making excuses that this young man is marked, but what about personal responsibility? If you have had a brush with the law, conventional wisdom would dictate a complete paradigm shift and a more reserved lifestyle. You can’t continue the same lifestyle that helped to get you in trouble in the first place. It is a shame and if this young man doesn’t get his act together, he may very well end up behind bars for a longer stint.