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JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS

 
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05/29/2009 11:01 AM
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JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS
[link to www.washingtontimes.com]

Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews.

The incident - which gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube - had prompted the government to sue the men, saying they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring would-be voters with the weapon, racial slurs and military-style uniforms.

Career lawyers pursued the case for months, including obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago.

The lawyers also had ascertained that one of the three men had gained access to the polling place by securing a credential as a Democratic poll watcher, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Washington Times.

The career Justice lawyers were on the verge of securing sanctions against the men earlier this month when their superiors ordered them to reverse course, according to interviews and documents. The court had already entered a default judgment against the men on April 20.

A Justice Department spokesman on Thursday confirmed that the agency had dropped the case, dismissing two of the men from the lawsuit with no penalty and winning an order against the third man that simply prohibits him from bringing a weapon to a polling place in future elections.

The department was "successful in obtaining an injunction that prohibits the defendant who brandished a weapon outside a Philadelphia polling place from doing so again," spokesman Alejandro Miyar said. "Claims were dismissed against the other defendants based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law."

Mr. Miyar declined to elaborate about any internal dispute between career and political officials, saying only that the department is "committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate, threaten or coerce anyone exercising his or her sacred right to vote."

Court records reviewed by The Times show that career Justice lawyers were seeking a default judgment and penalties against the three men as recently as May 5, before abruptly ending their pursuit 10 days later.

People directly familiar with the case, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of fear of retribution, said career lawyers in two separate Justice offices had recommended proceeding to default judgment before political superiors overruled them.
Tensions between career lawyers and political appointees inside the Justice Department have been a sensitive matter since allegations surfaced during the Bush administration that higher-ups had ignored or reversed staff lawyers and that some U.S. attorneys had been removed or selected for political reasons.

During his January confirmation hearings, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that during his lengthy Justice Department tenure, the career lawyers were "my teachers, my colleagues and my friends" and described them as the "backbone" of the department.

"If I am confirmed as attorney general, I will listen to them, respect them and make them proud of the vital goals we will pursue together," he said.

Justice officials declined to say whether Mr. Holder or other senior Justice officials became involved in the case, saying they don't discuss internal deliberations.

The civil suit filed Jan. 7 identified the three men as members of the Panthers and said they wore military-style uniforms, black berets, combat boots, battle-dress pants, black jackets with military-style insignias and were armed with "a dangerous weapon"and used racial slurs and insults to scare would-be voters and those there to assist them at the Philadelphia polling location on Nov. 4.

The complaint said the three men engaged in "coercion, threats and intimidation, ... racial threats and insults, ... menacing and intimidating gestures, ... and movements directed at individuals who were present to vote." It said that unless prohibited by court sanctions, they would "continued to violate ... the Voting Rights Act by continuing to direct intimidation, threats and coercion at voters and potential voters, by again deploying uniformed and armed members at the entrance to polling locations in future elections, both in Philadelphia and throughout the country."

To support its evidence, the government had secured an affidavit from Bartle Bull, a longtime civil rights activist and former aide to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. Mr. Bull said in a sworn statement dated April 7 that he was serving in November as a credentialed poll watcher in Philadelphia when he saw the three uniformed Panthers confront and intimidate voters with a nightstick.
Inexplicably, the government did not enter the affidavit in the court case, according to the files.

"In my opinion, the men created an intimidating presence at the entrance to a poll," he declared. "In all my experience in politics, in civil rights litigation and in my efforts in the 1960s to secure the right to vote in Mississippi ... I have never encountered or heard of another instance in the United States where armed and uniformed men blocked the entrance to a polling location."

Mr. Bull said the "clear purpose" of what the Panthers were doing was to "intimidate voters with whom they did not agree." He also said he overheard one of the men tell a white poll watcher: "You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

He called their conduct an "outrageous affront to American democracy and the rights of voters to participate in an election without fear." He said it was a "racially motivated effort to limit both poll watchers aiding voters, as well as voters with whom the men did not agree." The three men named in the complaint - New Black Panther Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson - refused to appear in court to answer the accusations over a near-five month period, court records said.

Justice Department Voting Rights Section Attorney J. Christian Adams complained in one court filing about the defendants' failure to appear or to file any pleadings in the case, arguing that Mr. Jackson was "not an infant, nor is he an incompetent person as he appears capable of managing his own affairs, nor is he in the military service of the United States."

Court records show that as late as May 5, the Justice Department was still considering an order by U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell in Philadelphia to seek judgments, or sanctions, against the three Panthers because of their failure to appear.

But 10 days later, the department reversed itself and filed a notice of voluntary dismissal from the complaint for Malik Zulu Shabazz and Mr. Jackson.

That same day, the department asked for the default judgment against King Samir Shabazz, but limited the penalty to an order that he not display a "weapon within 100 feet of any open polling location on any election day in the city of Philadelphia" until Nov. 15, 2012.

Malik Zulu Shabazz is a Washington, D.C., resident.

Mr. Jackson was an elected member of Philadelphia's 14th Ward Democratic Committee, and was credentialed to be at the polling place last Nov. 4 as an official Democratic Party polling observer, according to the Philadelphia City Commissioner's Office.

Efforts to reach the Panthers were unsuccessful. A telephone number listed on the New Black Panthers Web site had been disconnected.

The complaint said that the three men were deployed at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling location wearing the uniform of the New Black Panther Party and that King Samir Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style nightstick with a contoured grip and wrist lanyard.
According to the complaint, Malik Zulu Shabazz, a Howard University Law School graduate, said the placement of King Samir Shabazz and Mr. Jackson in Philadelphia was part of a nationwide effort to deploy New Black Panther Party members at polling locations on Election Day.

The New Black Panther Party reportedly has 27 chapters operating across the United States, Britain, the Caribbean and Africa. Its Web page said it has become "a great witness to the validity of the works of the original Black Panther Party," which was founded in 1966 in Oakland, Calif.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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05/29/2009 11:05 AM
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Re: JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS
[link to www.washingtontimes.com]

EDITORIAL: Protecting Black Panthers


Imagine if Ku Klux Klan members had stood menacingly in military uniforms, with nightsticks, in front of a polling place. Add to it that they had hurled racial threats and insults at voters who tried to enter.

Now suppose that the government, backed by a nationally televised video of the event, had won a court case against the Klansmen except for the perfunctory filing of a single, simple document - but that an incoming Republican administration had moved to voluntarily dismiss the already-won case.


Surely that would have been front-page news, with a number of firings at the Justice Department.

The flip side of this scenario is occurring right now. The culprits weren't Klansmen; they belonged to the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. One of the defendants, Jerry Jackson, is an elected member of Philadelphia's 14th Ward Democratic Committee and was a credentialed poll watcher for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party when the violations occurred. Rather conveniently, the Obama administration has asked that the cases against Mr. Jackson, two other defendants and the party be dropped.

The Voting Rights Act is very clear. It prohibits any "attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce" any voter or those aiding voters.

The explanation for moving to dismiss the case is shocking. According to the Department of Justice: "These same Defendants have made no appearance and have filed no pleadings with the Court. Nor have they otherwise raised any other defenses to this action. Therefore, the United States has the right ... to dismiss voluntarily this action against the Defendants." In other words, because the defendants haven't tried to defend themselves, the Justice Department won't punish them.

By that logic, if a murderer doesn't respond to the charges, he should be let free. That's crazy.

The Obama Justice Department did take one action against one of the four defendants: It forbade him from again "displaying a weapon within 100 feet of any open polling location" in Philadelphia. Given that it already was illegal to display a weapon at a polling place and that he was not even enjoined from carrying a weapon at polling places outside of Philadelphia, it is hard to see what this order accomplished.

We asked the Justice Department if it was unable to provide any explanation for dropping the case. Justice press aide Alejandro Miyar merely said: "That is correct." Multiple times we asked both the department and the White House to comment on charges that the dismissals represented political bias. We received no substantive response.

Hans Von Spakovsky, a legal scholar at the Heritage Foundation and a former commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, tells us, "In my experience, I have never heard of the department refusing to take a default judgment... . If a Republican administration had done this, it would be front-page news and every civil rights group in the country would be screaming about it."

Consider that the behavior of the defendants was so bad that witness Bartle Bull, a former Robert F. Kennedy organizer who did extensive legal work on behalf of black voters in Mississippi, testified it was "the most blatant form of voter discrimination I have encountered in my life."


Eric Eversole, a former litigation attorney with the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, told us: "It is truly unprecedented for the Voting Section to voluntarily dismiss a case of such blatant intimidation. The video speaks for itself."

We couldn't agree more. After the 2000 Presidential election, Democrats complained about voter intimidation in Florida by pointing to a police car that had been two miles away from a polling place. The police didn't do anything to anyone, but their presence was deemed sufficient to vaguely intimidate people en route to the polls. In this case, the New Black Panther Party actually blocked access to a poll.

Unlike the Florida incident, this case involving the New Black Panthers screams out for tough justice. Instead, the Obama administration looks the other way. This all but invites racial violence at future elections
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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05/29/2009 11:07 AM
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Re: JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS
LINK TO VIDEO
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Avian

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Re: JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS


Last Edited by aVian on 05/29/2009 11:08 AM
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
- Frédéric Bastiat

food, water, ammo, weapons, battery back up solar, hand well pump, wood stove and 1 year of food...oh yeah PM's too...good luck
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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05/29/2009 11:13 AM
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Re: JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS
[link to infidelsparadise.wordpress.com]
Vote at your own risk? DOJ Dismisses Charges Against Black Panthers

This past Presidential Election, uniformed, baton swinging thugs were caught on video intimidating voters at a polling place in Philadelphia while hurling racial threats and insults at both black and white voters:

[link to infidelsparadise.wordpress.com]



After investigating the incident, and before the change in Administrations, the Civil Rights Division of DOJ filed a complaint against the New Black Panther Party and several of its members for violations of Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act. That Section prohibits any “attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce” any voter and those aiding voters.
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=" [link to www.youtube.com] name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src=" [link to www.youtube.com] type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>


Neither the New Black Panther Party nor its members responded to the complaint. As a result, the federal district court ordered the Division to file a motion for a default judgment against the Party and its members. When a defendant doesn’t respond to a lawsuit, this is what happens. By this time, however, the new Administration had taken charge. Instead of filing for a default judgment against the Party and its members, the Division VOLUNTARILY moved to dismiss the charges against the Black Panther Party and two of its members.
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=" [link to www.youtube.com] name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src=" [link to www.youtube.com] type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>


In other words, the Division voluntarily dismissed an uncontentested lawsuit against an individual who, by the terms of its own complaint, had “made statements containing racial threats and racial insults at both black and white individuals” and who “made menacing and intimidating gestures, statements, and movements directed at individuals who were present to aid voters.” One member, Jerry Jackson, is an elected member of the Philadelphia Democratic Committee and was a credentialed poll watcher.

The Division sought relief only against one member who carried and waived a baton on election day, and sought only to enjoin him from “displaying a weapon within 100 feet of any open polling loaction” in Philadelphia. Nothing about ”statements containing racial threats and racial insults” or ”menacing and intimidating gestures, statements, and movements directed at individuals who were present to aid voters.”

These actions raise a number of troubling questions. For example, why did the Civil Rights Division voluntarily dismiss a lawsuit that they had effectively already won, against defendants who were physically threatening voters? Is the Division concerned that this dismissal will encourage the New Black Panther Party, or other groups, to intimidate voters? Why did the Division seek such limited relief against a defendant who was actually carrying and brandishing a weapon at a polling station on election day?
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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05/29/2009 11:23 AM
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Re: JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS
[link to www.worldnetdaily.com]

Feds sue New Black Panthers for voter intimidation
Members at polling place allegedly to make sure black won election


The U.S. government has filed a lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense alleging the organization intimidated voters at a precinct polling place in Philadelphia during the Nov. 4 election.

"Intimidation outside of a polling place is contrary to the democratic process," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Grace Chung Becker in a prepared statement.

"The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to protect the fundamental right to vote and the department takes allegations of voter intimidation seriously," she said.

The complaint explains party chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz confirmed that Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were placed at the polling location in Philadelphia as part of a nationwide effort to deploy New Black Panther Party members on election day


The complaint alleges 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." The Justice Department seeks an injunction preventing any future deployment of, or display of weapons by, New Black Panther Party members at the entrance to polling locations.

The government explained in its filing in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia that Shabazz and Jackson wore the uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style baton weapon.


A Fox News report of the incident has been posted on YouTube.

In the report, a GOP election monitor said he called police after being told that the men were there to make sure a "black" wins the election.

On the AmericasRight.com website, Jeff Schreiber reported the pair assigned to the polling also "hurled racist comments and racial slurs at voters and prospective voters."

A statement on the website of the New Black Panther Party stated tersely that the Philadelphia chapter of the party "is suspended from operations and is not recognized … until further notice."

"The New Black Panther Party has never, and never will, condone or promote the carrying of nightsticks or any kind of weapon at any polling place. Such actions that were taken were purely the individual actions of Samir Shabazz and not in any way representative or connected to the New Black Panther Party," the statement said.

"On that day November 4th, Samir Shabazz acted purely on his own will and in complete contradiction to the code and conduct of a member of our organization. We don't believe in what he did and did not tell him to do what he did, he moved on his own instructions," the organization said.

But the Justice Department alleged: "Throughout the course of this deployment at the polling location, and while the polls were open for voting, Defendant Samir Shabazz pointed the weapon at individuals, menacingly tapped it [in] his other hand, or menacingly tapped it elsewhere. This activity occurred approximately eight to fifteen feet from the entrance to the polling location. Defendant Samir Shabazz was accompanied by Defendant Jerry Jackson during this activity, and the two men stood side by side, in apparent formation, throughout most of this deployment."

The complaint alleges the organization actually urged similar behavior nationwide with a notice that more than 300 members would be deployed at polling places.

Schreiber reported the defendants are alleged to have violated federal law "by deployment of armed and uniformed personnel at the entrance to the polling location," and the defendants' "loud and open use" of racially derogatory comments "enhanced the intimidating and threatening presence at the polling location."

The complaint argues the New Black Panther Party will continue such actions save for intervening action from the court. As a result, the government is seeking not only a declaration that the defendants violated the Voting Rights Act but also a court order permanently enjoining the defendants from conducting similar operations at polling places during future elections.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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05/29/2009 09:19 PM
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Re: JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS
Why are you not OUTRAGED by this??????????????????? NO ONE should be intimidated at the polls.
Myst
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06/02/2009 09:10 AM
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Re: JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS
According to an article I just posted here the Voting Rights Act doesn't apply to the entire country (amazing in itself!), but only to certain areas in the South and Southwest. I'm certain Philadelphia isn't covered so they can't sue using the Voting Rights Act as a reason. This is partly why I feel they dropped it...but, outraged?? Hell, yeah..but I have a feeling we are just getting started here.
itdincor
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06/02/2009 12:35 PM
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Re: JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CHARGES AGAINST BLACK PANTHERS FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION, BLOCKED POLLS BRANDISHED WEAPONS
I rather expected this from our new Liberal Fascist Overlords, but not quite so soon....

They must be feeling pretty confident....

hayseed

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