President Obama's Justice Department continues to stonewall inquiries about why it dropped a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party.
The episode—which Bartle Bull, a former civil rights lawyer and publisher of the left-wing Village Voice, calls "the most blatant form of voter intimidation I've ever seen"—began on Election Day 2008. Bull and others witnessed two Black Panthers in paramilitary garb at...
Counter-accusations were made, including claims that the actual incident was relatively minor but had been blown out of proportion by individuals and groups with political motives.
Then-AG Eric Holder denied claims that his Justice Department considers the race of an alleged victim when deciding which cases to pursue.
When the reporter asked the black panther if he was there to provide security, the man replied, “No comment.”Other Black Panthers reportedly showed up at a second polling place in Philadelphia Tuesday morning.
On Election Day in 2008, three members of the New Black Panther Party stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia, with one of them brandishing a nightstick or baton. Bush filed a civil complaint again three Black Panthers — Minister King Samir Shabazz, Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson — charging them with violating voter rights by using coercion, threats and intimidation.
On Election Day 2006, I had been barricaded out of a polling place, had a camera intentionally knocked out of my hand by a deputy of Democratic Congressman Bob Brady, and was taken away in a police car (for my own safety so I was told), before convincing a judge that I had every right to record video outside of a polling place, prompting him to immediately release me with no charges.
So, in 2008, I asked Democrat and Republican friends in Philly, where I was still registered to vote, if they could get me a poll watcher's certificate so I could have solid access to the polls. As I later wrote in Mother Jones (I'm not repeating this tale in the fashion of Jonah Lehrer, but there's really no point in telling the same story twice!
When I got there, I saw two men—later revealed to be King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson, members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, a fringe black supremacist group—standing outside the building.Conservative media and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s presidential campaign are revisiting the debunked right-wing media pseudo-scandal of voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party to defend Trump’s assertion that “large scale voter fraud” will affect the election.After the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, a video went viral of two members of the New Black Panther Party standing outside a Philadelphia polling station on Election Day.Four years ago, when I was a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, I returned to Philadelphia for Election Day.From my days as a collegiate journalist, I knew that extremely wacky things occur in Philly on Election Day.One was a registered Democratic poll watcher; the other held a nightstick. Bush, the Department of Justice (DOJ) opened an investigation into the incident after Republican poll watchers complained (no voters ever alleged that they were intimidated by the men). Commission on Civil Rights, which at the time was packed with conservative activists, responded to the conclusion of the case by opening an investigation, even though the Republican vice chairwoman of the commission called the case “very small potatoes” and criticized the “overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges.” Nevertheless, J.Later, under Obama’s administration, the DOJ obtained a default judgment against the member carrying the nightstick and dropped the case against the poll watcher, the organization, and its leader. Christian Adams, an activist Republican member of the commission, went on a lengthy crusade against Obama’s Justice Department for dropping the charges, resigning and claiming the decision showed unprecedented, racially charged corruption.Kelly spent only 20 seconds of her show covering the report.But the damage was already done, and the obsessive coverage of the non-event has bubbled back up in the 2016 presidential election.Adams admitted that he had no first-hand knowledge of the conversations leading to the decision.One year later, an internal investigation at the Justice Department found that “politics played no role in the handling” of the case and that “department attorneys did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment.” Fox News spent only 88 seconds covering the debunking of a phony scandal of its own creation.