New Orleans When a 17-year-old at the center of a civil rights controversy in a small Louisiana town left jail, he had a stranger to thank.
Dr. Stephen Ayers, who lives about 135 miles away, said he felt compelled to help the family of Mychal Bell by posting the teen's bond and allowing him to go home for the first time in 10 months.
Bell is one of six black teenagers accused of beating a white classmate in the central Louisiana town of Jena, where more than 20,000 demonstrators gathered last week to protest what they perceive as differences in how black and white suspects are treated.
Ayers, 42, of Lake Charles in southwestern Louisiana, said Friday that he isn't politically active and isn't usually one to "get into things like this." But then a patient whose feet hurt after the march gave him a report on the event, in which Ayers did not participate.