From the Washington Times today, the Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli (number 3 official in the DoJ) approved a decision to drop a civil compliant against three members of the New Black Panther Party that accused them of intimidating voters outside a Philadelphia polling location. DoJ career lawyers (read: not political appointees) working the case for 5 months recommended that the department should seek sanctions against the defendants after the government had already won a default judgement in federal court.
Apparently as the main lawyers from Justice were nearing completion of the sanctions order, they were told to seek a delay in the case. The final decision seems to drop the case against two of the men and issue a restraining order against the third. A spokesperson for the DoJ said that, “the facts and the law did not support pursuing the claims against three of the defendants” – but it had already passed a federal court judgement. Maybe I’ll defer that point to ‘Puter, our resident legal expert, unless he’s busy clubbing someone with a tire iron outside a polling place.
As part of the “Hope and Change” that this election has brought about, congressional members have been stonewalled by the DoJ when asking about why the case was dismissed. DoJ officials claim the information to be “privileged, according to congressional correspondence with the department.” There’s the new transparency that POTUS Obama has been preaching about.
From the article, the civil complaint described the following behavior, for those who don’t recall the incident:
Two NBPP members, wearing black berets, black combat boots, black dress shirts and black jackets with military-style markings, were charged in a civil complaint with intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place, including brandishing a 2-foot-long nightstick and issuing racial threats and racial insults. Authorities said a third NBPP member “managed, directed and endorsed the behavior.
A Justice Department memo shows that career lawyers in the case decided as early as Dec. 22 to seek a complaint against the NBPP; its chairman, Malik Zulu Shabazz, a lawyer and D.C. resident; Minister King Samir Shabazz, a resident of Philadelphia and head of the Philadelphia NBPP chapter who was accused of wielding the nightstick; and Jerry Jackson, a resident of Philadelphia and a NBPP member.
“We believe the deployment of uniformed members of a well-known group with an extremely hostile racial agenda, combined with the brandishing of a weapon at the entrance to a polling place, constitutes a violation of Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act which prohibits types of intimidation, threats and coercion, the memo said.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights also sent a letter to the DoJ in June saying that this incident is a clear demonstration of voter intimidation with examples of physical threats as well as verbal harrassment.
Read the rest of the article and then think about it. Reverse some of the party affiliations and see if you think officials, the media, and our government would react the same. What if two or three large caucasian males wearing cammies or hunting vests (settle down, ‘Puter) stood outside your polling place slapping a two foot long nightstick in their palm and used equivalent racial epithets as the ones described in the article? My answer – charge them against the Voter Rights Act with intimidation and sanction them and any organization they represented. Why the same standard isn’t being applied here is a good question. Is it political? Likely. So the new “hope and change” means a weakening of the enforcement of the Voters Right Act, right?
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