Jim Kouri
Black Panthers alleged voter intimidation case remains in limbo
By Jim Kouri
February 11, 2010

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice's Inspector General told conservative lawmakers that he was not empowered to investigate complaints of voter intimidation during the 2008 presidential election, according to the Washington Times.

With a growing number of lawmakers and Americans criticizing the dismissal of complaints against the New Black Panther Party, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said he should be able to investigate the department to discover the rationale for terminating the investigation, but was powerless because Congress had stripped him of that authority. As a result, the U.S. Justice Department is not expected to pursue any action against the group

Many Americans were disappointed last year when officials at the US Department of Justice announced that they had dropped their investigation of voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party, a radical group who were devoted to the election of Barack Obama.

During an interview on March 20, 2008 with Black Panther leader Malik Zulu Shabazz, Fox News Channel viewers learned that Shabazz' group endorsed and supported Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.

Even on Fox — an organization wrongly accused of being "conservative" — the interviewers were careful in their questioning of Shabazz, a recognized racist and anti-American radical.

The New Black Panther Party leader proudly announced on Fox News that his organization endorsed and supported Obama for President.

"While some people may say that Barack Obama has no control over who endorses him, he should have control over what endorsements are posted on his web sites," said Laurie Roth, who hosts a popular syndicated talk show

"The endorsement of the New Black Panther Party was posted on Barack Obama's web site. Why was this tolerated unless Barack Obama wanted their endorsement? If he does not want their endorsement, how much control over his staff is he going to have once he's elected President?" asks Mike Baker.

Once the New Black Panthers announced their endorsement, Obama's damage-control team pulled the Black Panthers' endorsement story off their web site. The Obama campaign also requested that the Panthers remove news of the group's endorsement from its own web site, which it did.

After election day, the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense made news headlines again because the US Justice Department dropped its Voting Rights Act violation investigation against the militant group and three of its members in spite of allegations that the defendants intimidated voters and those aiding them during the November 4, 2008 general election.

The complaint, filed in the United States District Court in Philadelphia, alleged that, during the election, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were deployed at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling location wearing the uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and that Samir Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style baton weapon. There exists news video footage verifying this.

"Intimidation outside of a polling place is contrary to the democratic process," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Grace Chung Becker at the time. "The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to protect the fundamental right to vote and the Department takes allegations of voter intimidation seriously."

According to the complaint, party Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz confirmed that the placement of Samir Shabazz and Jackson in Philadelphia was part of a nationwide effort to deploy New Black Panther Party members at polling locations on Election Day.

The complaint alleged a violation of Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits intimidation, coercion or threats against "any person for voting or attempting to vote."

While most of the denizens of this country's newsrooms are yawned over this story, some newspapers and news shows are provided coverage.

For instance, the Washington Times reported that Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the number three man in the Obama Justice Department, was consulted and ultimately approved a decision last May to reverse course and drop a complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party of intimidating voters in Philadelphia during November's election.

The department's career lawyers in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division who pursued the complaint for five months had recommended that Justice seek sanctions against the party and three of its members after the government had already won a default judgment in federal court against the men, states the Washington Times.

The Washington Times news story, reprinted on the Fox News Channel web site, reported that:

"Front-line lawyers were in the final stages of completing that work when they were unexpectedly told by their superiors in late April to seek a delay after a meeting between political appointees and career supervisors, according to federal records and interviews.

"The delay was ordered by then-acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King after she discussed with Perrelli concerns about the case during one of their regular review meetings, according to the interviews.

"King, a career senior executive service official, had been named by President Obama in January to temporarily fill the vacant political position of assistant attorney general for civil rights while a permanent choice could be made."

The New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which claims active chapters nationwide, is distinct from the Black Panther Party founded by Bobby Seale in the 1960s.

Meanwhile, the Obama security team — Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other political appointees — is closely monitoring "right-wing extremists" who oppose abortion, gun control, federal intrusion into local police matters, etc.

© Jim Kouri


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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)


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