We wrote here about the Justice Department’s dismissal of a voter intimidation case against a group of armed Black Panthers who threatened would-be voters outside a polling place in Philadelphia. This video of the defendants indicates the sort of intimidation in which they were engaged:
DOJ’s decision to dismiss the case has been mysterious, in part, because it came after the defendants had defaulted. So the case had been won, and Justice decided to give it away.
Republicans in Congress have tried to find out who decided to let the Panthers off, and why, but they have been stonewalled by the Justice Department and the Obama administration. The Washington Times has been investigating, however, and reports that the decision to drop the case was approved by Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli. Perrilli is a Democratic Party activist who raised $500,000 for President Obama’s campaign and was rewarded with the number three spot in the Department of Justice.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said in a June 16 letter to Justice that the decision to drop the case caused it “great confusion, since the NBPP members were “caught on video blocking access to the polls, and physically threatening and verbally harassing voters during the Nov. 4, 2008, general election.
“Though it had basically won the case, the [Civil Rights Division] took the unusual move of voluntarily dismissing the charges , the letter said. “The division’s public rationale would send the wrong message entirely — that attempts at voter suppression will be tolerated and will not be vigorously prosecuted so long as the groups or individuals who engage in them fail to respond to the charges leveled against them.”
This incident is one of a series of events that suggest the Obama administration has gone to considerable lengths to politicize the Department of Justice.