Friday, May 29, 2009

Black Panthers Are Safe at Polls in Philadelphia

Over the past few hours, CNN, Fox News, The Philadelphia Bulletin and The Washington Times have all reported that the cases against the New Black Panther Party members who showed up as "poll watchers" at a Philadelphia precinct last November have been dismissed or reduced to near-nothingness by the Obama/Holder Justice Department. The Panthers had shown up at the precinct with the usual poll watcher tools--a police nightstick, some chains, and paramilitary uniforms.

The federal action against the Panthers charged "coercion, threats and intimidation, racial threats and insults, menacing and intimidating gestures, and movements directed at voters and potential voters, and deploying uniformed and armed members at the entrance to a polling location." All of this had been caught on film and audio, and played on TV and in print media nationwide. Even Obama expressed outrage. Among the defendants was Jerry Jackson, an elected member of Philadelphia's 14th ward Democratic Committee and a credentialed poll watcher. The defendants refused to appear before the court, and a default judgment was taken against them. All that was left to be done was for the Justice Department lawyers to file the proposed judgment, including penalties and sanctions for the defendants' failure to appear.

Incredibly, by May 5 of this year Justice Department superiors ordered that the professional career lawyers on the case who had been pursuing the matter through two administrations now back off. They ordered the lawyers not to include in the final papers the affidavit of Bartle Bull. Bull was a civil rights activist in the South and later a member of Robert Kennedy's presidential election committee. He was also on the scene in Philadelphia as a certified poll watcher. He said in the affidavit "In my opinion, the men created an intimidating presence at the entrance to a poll. 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."

Nevertheless, on May 15, the Department reversed its earlier position while the judgment was still pending before the U. S. District Judge and filed a notice of voluntary dismissal against Malik Zulu Shabazz and Mr. Jackson.

For those of you not familiar with Mr. Shabazz, he was mentored by Khalid Abdul Muhammad of The Nation of Islam ("Black Muslims"). Muhammad's rhetoric was so vile that even Louis Farrakhan couldn't take it anymore. On Jews, Shabazz has this to say: "Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!" In response to an olive branch extended to him by a gay rights activist, Shabazz had this to say (I have left it in its original all capitals form so you can get a feel for this gentle poll-watcher): "LEAVE ME ALONE SICK LITTLE FAGGOT. THAT'S WHY WE HAD A STANDING ROOM ONLY 800 PLUS CROWD AT THE MASONIC TEMPLE LAST THURSDAY, MEETING ON HOW TO RUN DEVILS LIKE YOU OUTTA HERE . . . WE ARE BUILDING A BLACK POWER ARMY RIGHT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, SINCE YOU LIKE PANTHER GEAR, (IN A FREAKY SICKO SADO MASOCHIST-SATANIC WAY), I WILL SPARE YOU A PAIR OF BLACK STEEL TOE BOOTS UP YOUR ASS. I FEAR YOU WILL ENJOY THAT. YOU WILL GET CRUSHED, LITTLE DEVIL, IN SELF-DEFENSE." Nice, huh? I guess Shabazz felt he needed to bring his civility to Philadelphia on election day. Side note: Shabazz is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

After Holder's new people dismissed against Shabazz and Jackson, he allowed the proceedings to go forward as to defendant King Samir Shabazz, but limited the penalty to requiring only that he not "display a weapon within 100 feet of any open polling location on any election day in the city of Philadelphia until November 15, 2012." That'll teach him! He won't be free to scare people away from the polling precincts until nearly Christmas of 2012.

All of the hard work, proof and witness statements made literally at great risk to themselves have gone down the drain. The new day of Obama Justice has dawned. Eric Holder has proven that he will guide his department down the primrose path of racial preferences and tolerance for thuggish unlawful behavior as long as it is performed by those oppressed minorities of which he has so often spoken. Your exam question for the day is: "What would Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor have to say about the decision of the Justice Department?" DISCUSS.

Note: Thanks to John Keats for getting my blood stirred up, again, by pointing out the Washington Times article to me.

Additional note: I suffered some sort of major computer glitch which made my original post badly garbled. I know several of you posted responses which were deleted after I removed the original post. Please post again, I want to hear from all of you.

20 comments:

LawHawkSF said...

Additional Note: Justice Department spokesman Alejandro Miyar proudly announced that "the defendant who brandished a weapon outside a Philadelphia polling place is prohibited from doing so again." At least until 2012. "Claims were dismissed against the other defendants based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law." By whom? Sotomayor?

I feel a lot safer now, how about you?

Captain Soapbox said...

I live in PA, but thankfully nowhere near Philly, so that got a lot of coverage in the news here when it happened. What the hell is up with that whole not openly displaying a weapon within 100' of a polling place until that date? On the day after can he go back to sitting there with his nightstick and calling every white person that walks by a flurry of names? Possibly since the DoJ figures that Obama's 2nd term would be even more hopey changey than the first one...

Also PA has some very good weapons laws, at least from a 2nd Amendment purist's standpoint, but for some reason the city of Philladelphia has completely different laws. Which actually goes against the state constitution as I read it, but regardless in Philly any open display of a weapon should have carried some fairly stiff municipal penalties, no matter what Holder and company have to say about the Civil Rights and Voting Rights issues.

Which they're freakin' wrong on too in my opinion.

LawHawkSF said...

Captain: I'm not sure what the local authorities are up to. They have the ability to file state and local charges separately, and I certainly hope they did. The federal suit was pursuant to The Voting Rights Act of 1965, and only provides civil penalties. Criminal actions in this type of case are reserved for the state and its subdepartments.

There are criminal charges and penalties available for the actions of the defendants, but for some reason neither Attorney General chose to file them.

As for the deadline, injunctions have a shelf life. In connection with the VRA of 1965, that would be a maximum of four years. If the federal prosecutor/counsel wants to extend it for another four years, it's relatively simple to do. But given the current climate, if Obama and Holder are still in office, that won't happen.

SQT said...

I don't even know what to say...

Captain Soapbox said...

Lawhawk, Philly probably could get them on seperate local weapons violations, but given how Philly is only beat by New Orleans and Chicago for "machine politics" then I wouldn't be surprised it they didn't.

But I did read some time ago, shortly after it happened that the PA State Police were going to have a task force looking into the Black Panthers too. I'm not sure what the scope of that was, and I'm hoping it wasn't just to assist in filing a Voting Rights Act violation that the DoJ could tank.

StlDan said...

So, I might suggest that an organization such as the Minute men or perhaps even a Militia, show up at the exact same polling station next election in uniform, sans weapons. If nothing else it would draw media attention and would force said media to give it coverage.

StanH said...

Great read Lawhawk, your passion is bubbling through the lines. It’s amazing the audacity that our government displays in cases which are nothing more than reverse racism. This kind of energy is dangerous in any society, the intentional Balkanization of a people will not end well, it’s stupid. The powers that be, had better start to reel in the PC police before this country explodes. Equal Rights have evolved into Special Rights, and we all can assume how this will end.

AndrewPrice said...

I'm with StlDan on this one. This whole thing is an outrage, and if they're going to let the Black Panthers get away with it, then we need to use the same tactic, or they are only going to keep expanding this until our elections look more like elections in Venezuela than the USA.


On a legal note, I have known many people both at the US Attorney's offices and at DOJ. Most people don't know that there is a difference, but there is -- a huge difference (and may it's worth a post at some point). In any event, the thing to remember when you hear stories like this is that the career attorneys are usually extremely competent, dedicated attorneys. The political appointees, however, are hacks and worse. Unfortunately, it is the political appointees who decide whether or not the career attorneys get to proceed with particular cases.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk,

I remember years ago when Kahlid Muhammad came to Howard University in D.C. Howard is a "historically black university."

When a local journalist found out that he was coming, the journalist snuck a tape recorder into the event. The next day they played Khalid's rant on the local news.

It was stunning. It would have made Hitler blush. I recall one phrase in particular, where he used a kind of sing-song speaking style to describe Jews as "the hooked-nose (pause) bagle eatin' (pause) blood suckers of the black community."

The crowd erupted in cheers. It was eye opening.

patti said...

i had reached the height of cleverness with my last comment on this entry, only to be outwitted by technology. and it was such a good comment...the best ever...the kind that cements reputations for uncanny insight.

let me try to recreate it: something about mad latina emphathy skilz with a zinger about weapons or was it a zinger about how easy it is to judge things without actually applying the law skilz? sheesh, i forget.

now, instead of being known as uncanny insight girl, i'm just the gal who rambles and comments with no real purpose but to say that her first comment was solid gold, baby. so let's try to focus on that.

LawHawkSF said...

StlDan: As they say, turnabout would be fair play. But the result could be quite different. I suspect that anyone who showed up to protect potential Republican voters would be charged with felony littering, get a million dollar fine, and life imprisonment. Eric Holder would prosecute personally.

StanH: I never met Bartle Bull when I was in the South, or at least if I did I don't remember him. But I can feel personally what he must have felt when he was confronted with the nightmare of Oxford, Mississippi in reverse. And in what used to be called the City of Brotherly Love.

Andrew: I have that performance on tape. Complete with Shabazz in the background. Occasionally wiping his bald head, Muhammad did his imitation of a Jew by bending over, getting as close to the ground as he could, and snorting in a [poor] imitation of a pig. Shabazz introduced the performance by berating "Coward" University for not allowing the spectators to come armed.

LawHawkSF said...

Patti: Don't feel bad. The post was my third attempt. I sent a note to Andrew after the second which probably sounded like a suicide note. It was three hours from the original post to the final one, with much swearing and throwing things in-between. The "additional note" at the top of the comments was one of the things I accidentally left out when re-writing the third version.

SQT said...

LawHawk

Blogger is supposed to automatically save your posts.... Did it error out when you tried to post? I notice there is a draft on the posts page that has the same title as this one, so I assume that one was your original post. If you try to publish a post and it doesn't work, go back to the Dashboard and click on "edit posts" which will take you HERE (as long as you're a poster on this blog) and you should see your post, which you can go back and edit or publish. Hope this helps.

LawHawkSF said...

SQT: Thanks for the tip. I had gotten a "backup post" message that I hadn't seen before, but since the page was still up, I went with it. That's when everything got garbled since it put two posts together. But it turns out the real problem was that I cut and pasted the Shabazz quotes without using the proper html. On my third try, I simply typed the quotes, and of course it posted. But at least now I know where to look for "drafts." If I now delete that draft, my whole post isn't going to disappear again, is it?

SQT said...

No, your post should still be fine. Next time you run into trouble, give me a holler. Sometimes it's a really simple fix. The collapsible posts are really sensitive to formatting and the whole post will go buggy if you leave out any html tags or put in too many. Usually just fixing the tag situation will fix the whole thing.

LawHawkSF said...

Thanks, SQT.

BevfromNYC said...

Patti, your comment about your post made my morning. Because I believe you , from this day forward you shall be known to all as "Uncanny Insight Girl" {"UIG" for short}. I think this title comes with a cape!

BTW, I have solve that lost post problem by writing them in WORD first.

Writer X said...

Remind me to bring my pepper spray the next time I got to vote.

BevfromNYC said...

Oh, Andrew, I had forgotten about the late great Khalid Mohammed. He was hired at one the colleges in NYC to head the African American Studies department during the Dinkins' administration. What a joy – Khalid Mohammed AND Al Sharpton appearing nightly. Both were given full rein to wreak whatever havoc they chose. Riots were not unusual. Then Rudy Guiliani took over and the game changed. Rudy didn’t give an inch to either of them. He denied a permit to Khalid Mohammed for a march he wanted to stage through NYC. They took it to court and Rudy argued that it would be a “hate march”. Of course, the court ruled against the city, but it did limit the demonstration to within very specific parameters and at a specific time and place. Oooh, they did not like that! A riot ensued during the march. But Rudy was vindicated because it was a hate and violence-filled screed. Throughout, I believed that Rudy knew he couldn't really stop the march, but his real goal was to minimize their influence.

StlDan said...

I have learned a little trick about saving post on any web site. I highlight the entire text (left click and drag over the post) I've just written, then right click and copy it to the clipboard. Then if (when) something goes wrong, I just return to the open text box, right click and paste.

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