Friday, May 29, 2009

Voter Intimidation Complaint Against Night Stick Wielding Black Panther Members Dismissed

On November 4th (2008), a few members of the Black Panthers were standing outside a voting area wielding a night stick (Berman Post: Black Panthers Intimidating Voters in Pennsylvania?). This was a clear case of voter intimidation.

If you missed this story, here are a few videos to get you up to speed before getting to recent developments.

Videos embedded below.

Career lawyers were apparently overruled by political appointees and forced to dismiss the civil complaint.

"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.
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...

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.

Complaints against two of the three were dismissed, while the third has been ordered not to brandished a weapon outside a polling place any more. This does not even register as a slap on the wrist, more like a feather tickle on the wrist. Let us just hope that this is not an indication of the degree to which we care about voter intimidation or else we could be in a lot of trouble.

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