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Teen pleads guilty to intimidating 'Jena 6' marchers

  • Story Highlights
  • Jeremiah Munsen pleads guilty to hate crime to threatening "Jena 6" protesters
  • Munsen, unnamed teenager drove with nooses in back of truck past marchers
  • Marchers were protesting handling of several racially charged cases
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(CNN) -- A teenager pleaded guilty Friday to a federal hate crime of threatening and intimidating civil rights marchers near Jena, Louisiana, last year by displaying hangman's nooses from the back of a pickup truck.

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A photo taken by I-Reporter Casanova Love shows a noose hanging from a pickup in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Federal authorities announced Friday that Jeremiah Munsen, 18, of Colfax, Louisiana, admitted that he placed two large nooses on his truck on September 20.

They said Munsen, along with an unidentified teen passenger, drove repeatedly past a group of marchers gathered at a bus depot in Alexandria -- about 35 miles south of Jena, where the marches took place -- as they awaited buses to return them to Tennessee.

I-Reporter Casanova Love, 26, was visiting his family in Louisiana and said he witnessed the event and sent a photograph of the truck to CNN.

"If the police had not stepped in, I fear what might have happened," Love said. Photo View photos of the nooses on the truck »

The protesters arrived in Jena in an effort to raise awareness of the racial tensions that heightened in the area over recent months. Authorities there had been accused of injustice in the handling of racially charged cases, including the hanging of nooses in a tree after a group of black high school students sat in an area where traditionally only white students sat.

Months later, a white student was allegedly beaten by six black classmates in 2006. The protests that followed were in criticism of local authorities who initially charged the six students dubbed the "Jena 6," with second-degree attempted murder and conspiracy.

The charges were later reduced against those involved in the incident.

"The defendant used a noose to threaten peaceful civil rights marchers who were in Louisiana to rally against racial intolerance," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Grace Chung Becker.

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Calls made Friday to the only Munsen residence listed in Colfax were not immediately returned.

Munsen, who faces up to a year in prison, will be sentenced at an August 15 hearing. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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