Black Panther Justice--Empathy for thugs

Washington Times Editorial:

The Justice Department's decision to drop an already-won voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party merits multiple, independent investigations.

On Tuesday, Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, officially asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to refile the case. Mr. Holder should comply.

So far, the Justice Department has stonewalled legitimate inquiry. It has yet to provide records sought by this newspaper back in May. It has yet to answer a July 22 letter from Mr. Wolf that asks 35 questions on 17 different subjects relating to the Black Panther case. Justice has claimed, falsely, that the decision to drop the case was made by career attorneys only, not by political appointees. And it has declined to let congressmen interview the career attorneys who originally filed, and won, the case against the Black Panthers.

As first reported by The Washington Times, career attorneys at Justice already had won a default judgment against three Black Panthers and the party as a whole for intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place while wearing paramilitary-style garb, as one of them brandished a nightstick and made racial threats.

One of the Black Panthers, Jerry Jackson, was an official poll watcher for the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign. Justice Department spokesman Tracy Schmaler refused several times to say whether department lawyers consulted with any outsiders. Yet Kristen Clarke of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund confirmed that she talked about the case with Justice Department lawyers.

Ms. Schmaler said she would not talk about "internal deliberations." But if they consulted with outside groups, those deliberations by definition are not just internal.

Robert N. Driscoll, former chief of staff of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, told us it would be ethically dubious if political appointees consulted with outside interest groups without telling the career attorneys who filed the case. "I would be hammered if I were to have had such a meeting," he said.

Mr. Wolf's July 22 letter raised numerous discrepancies between Justice Department explanations and readily available facts. In a July 13 letter to the congressman, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Welch wrote that the department dropped the cases against the New Black Panther Party as a whole and its leader, Malik Zulu Shabazz, because "the factual contentions in the complaint did not have sufficient evidentiary support" to prove that they "managed" and "directed" the intimidating behavior of the two Panthers deployed at that polling place.

Mr. Wolf responded that, "the confession on national television by Malik Zulu Shabazz on Nov. 7, 2008, flatly contradicts your assertion. Mr. Shabazz unequivocally claims that his activities in Philadelphia were part of a nationwide effort involving hundreds of party members, and that the use of weapons was a necessary part of the Black Panther deployment."


This is a scandal that should not be ignored. A political decision to drop the case against people who were obviously guilty is no way to prevent this type of voter intimidation in the future. It also suggest that Democrats are willing to let their sympathizers do anything to assure their victory.


  1. read below... not like things have changed much other than who they get to do the dirty work.

    Historian Eric Foner observed:

    In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class, and all those who desired restoration of white supremacy. Its purposes were political, but political in the broadest sense, for it sought to affect power relations, both public and private, throughout Southern society. It aimed to reverse the interlocking changes sweeping over the South during Reconstruction: to destroy the Republican party's infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life.[17]

    ------- (at the same link) ---------

    The first Klan was founded in 1865 by Tennessee veterans of the Confederate Army. Groups spread throughout the South. Its purpose was to restore white supremacy in the aftermath of the American Civil War. The Klan resisted Reconstruction by assaulting, murdering and intimidating freedmen and white Republicans.

    ------- (at the same link) ---------

    The Ku Klux Klan soon spread into nearly every southern state, launching a "reign of terror" against Republican leaders both black and white. Those political leaders assassinated during the campaign included Arkansas Congressman James M. Hinds, three members of the South Carolina legislature, and several men who served in constitutional conventions."

    ------- (at the same link) ---------

    Klan violence worked to suppress black voting. As the following examples indicate, over 2,000 persons were killed, wounded and otherwise injured in Louisiana within a few weeks prior to the Presidential election of November 1868. Although St. Landry Parish had a registered Republican majority of 1,071, after the murders, no Republicans voted in the fall elections. White Democrats cast the full vote of the parish for Grant's opponent. The KKK killed and wounded more than 200 black Republicans, hunting and chasing them through the woods. Thirteen captives were taken from jail and shot; a half-buried pile of 25 bodies was found in the woods. The KKK made people vote Democratic and gave them certificates of the fact


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