Justice Department Kills Voter Intimidation Case

From the Washington Times:

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.

We wrote about the incident at the time; this is the YouTube video:

There is nothing wrong with overruling DOJ staff, of course. But in this instance it is hard to see a legitimate motive for dropping the case. DOJ dismissed two defendants completely and as to the third, settled for an order that he not bring a weapon to a polling place in Philadelphia until 2012. One of the three Panthers is a member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee.

More Hope and Change at Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

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