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Thread: Voter intimidation charges against Panthers dropped

  1. #21
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by road kill View Post
    Could someone explain to me then why Black men in uniform bradishing billy clubs were even at the voting site?

    C'mon Yardley, this out to be some damned fine bloviating!!
    Why are there 5-10 people standing outside the entry to my polling place every time I go wearing silly hats and big buttons proclaiming their political beliefs? Presumably they want to influence how I vote and are exercising their rights under the First Amendment to do so subject to the restrictions of Pennsylvania's electioneering laws.

    In this case one man was carrying an illegally displayed weapon (It would have been legal if it had remained concealed and he possessed a valid concealed carry permit, I am not actually sure that a billy club is illegal in PA anyway.). That man was arrested and removed.

    The other man, a resident of the building where the polling station was located, was determined by the responding officers to be doing nothing illegal and no action was taken.

    There was nothing at all illegal about the "uniforms" they were wearing. If you want to appear at the polling station in a cheerleader outfit or a Gestapo uniform, your right to do so is protected. You may even wear buttons and other political statements on your clothes when you enter the premises to vote if you so choose based on a court case this year.

    You may not verbally threaten someone and you may not display a weapon openly. The individual in question was arrested for violating those laws.

    Are you suggesting that they should have been arrested because they were black?

  2. #22
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Here's what a civil rights activist who was there has to say about the affair:


    CIVIL RIGHTS: WHO ARE THE “COWARDS”?
    Bartle Bull
    On taking office as Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder stated that America is a nation of “cowards” when it comes to race and that he would commit the Department of Justice to making civil rights cases a top priority. President Obama himself promised to “reinvigorate federal civil rights enforcement,” especially by prosecuting cases of voting discrimination against blacks.
    On May 15 Obama’s Department of Justice quashed a civil rights case involving voter intimidation by blacks in Philadelphia on election day, 2008.
    As New York chairman of Democrats for McCain, I had gone to Philadelphia on election day to work as a volunteer at polling places. An old hand at election work, I had been Robert Kennedy’s New York campaign manager in 1968, had worked for Charles Evers when he ran for governor of Mississippi in 1971, and had worked in South Carolina against Strom Thurmond in 1978. In Mississippi I had stopped the voting in the towns of Red Lick and Midnight and made them remove nooses that were hanging from tree branches outside the polling places. But never until I went to Philadelphia on November 4 had I seen a man with a weapon blocking the entrance to a polling place.
    Two men dressed in black combat boots, black berets and black uniforms blocked the door to the polling place at 1221 Fairmount Street. One was brandishing a large billy-club, intimidating anyone who approached. The two were members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP). Our campaign called the police and the press. The press filmed the incident. The police ordered the armed man to leave, but did not take away his weapon. As he passed three McCain volunteers, the armed man, Minister King Samir Shabazz, the party’s leader in Philadelphia, yelled: “You are about to be ruled by the black man, Cracker!”
    Having been arrested in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1966 while working as a civil rights lawyer, and having received a civil rights medal from Senator Edward Kennedy in 2003 for my work with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, I appreciated the racist irony.
    In March I received a call from an attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, asking me if I would confirm my experience in an affidavit in support of a suit under the Voting Rights Act to enjoin such activity. He said that if such conduct were not actionable under the Act, then nothing could be. He said my affidavit could involve risk as the NBPP had injured several policeman in an incident in New York. I said I would do it provided that they saw the law suit through to the end. On April 7 I signed the Affidavit.
    In early May the Federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered a default judgment versus King Shabazz enjoining him from again appearing at a polling place with a weapon. But on May 15, with victory certain because the other defendants (including the national NBPP) had not answered the proceeding, the new leadership at the Department of Justice dropped the case by filing a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal. The government attorney said to me: “The decision to drop the case against the other defendants came as a surprise to all of us working on it.” He said this failure to enforce the Voting Rights Act, the keystone of American civil rights legislation, would “embolden” other abuses in the future.
    What would have been said had the Bush administration quashed civil rights enforcement against voter intimidation by whites? The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League describe the NBPP as a hate group, and the original Black Panthers have denounced it, but the new administration is protecting it.
    Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy did not die to have thugs dressed like storm troopers and carrying weapons block the doors of polling places, nor to have the Attorney General of the United States protect the thugs instead of the voters.
    What will our next elections be like? ACORN, the principal instrument of voter fraud in 2008, has now been lavishly funded by the “Stimulus Package”. Intimidation at the polls is designed in part to prevent poll watchers from challenging the fraudulent voters registered by Acorn. The new census is to be overseen by the political office in the White House. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have been registered under the “Motor-Voter” Bill, which mandates voter registration at Motor Vehicle Bureaus. The New Black Panthers will be at the door. Who are today’s “cowards” about race?

    Bartle Bull Harvard Law School. Civil Rights Lawyer in Mississippi 1966. Robert Kennedy's New York State Campaign Manager 1968. Campaigned for Charles Evers for Governor of Mississippi in 1971. Jimmy Carter's New York State campaign manager. Former publisher of The Village Voice. 2003 received a civil rights medal from Senator Edward Kennedy for his work with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Author of novels China Star, Shanghai Station, The Devil's Oasis, and A Cafe on the Nile.

  3. #23
    Member txbadger's Avatar
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    Jeff, the point is the guy was arrested, found guilty and now receives no punishment for breaking the law. Instead his case is dropped after he's found guilty. What anyone else did isn't the point, just this case. Guilty = goes free doesn't compute in my books.

  4. #24
    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    Why are there 5-10 people standing outside the entry to my polling place every time I go wearing silly hats and big buttons proclaiming their political beliefs? Presumably they want to influence how I vote and are exercising their rights under the First Amendment to do so subject to the restrictions of Pennsylvania's electioneering laws.

    In this case one man was carrying an illegally displayed weapon (It would have been legal if it had remained concealed and he possessed a valid concealed carry permit, I am not actually sure that a billy club is illegal in PA anyway.). That man was arrested and removed.

    The other man, a resident of the building where the polling station was located, was determined by the responding officers to be doing nothing illegal and no action was taken.

    There was nothing at all illegal about the "uniforms" they were wearing. If you want to appear at the polling station in a cheerleader outfit or a Gestapo uniform, your right to do so is protected. You may even wear buttons and other political statements on your clothes when you enter the premises to vote if you so choose based on a court case this year.

    You may not verbally threaten someone and you may not display a weapon openly. The individual in question was arrested for violating those laws.

    Are you suggesting that they should have been arrested because they were black?
    That's ridiculus, I suggested nothing of the kind.
    I asked a question.
    And, in typical lefty fashion, you did not answer my question.
    I did not ask of the legality of it all.
    I asked "what were they doing there?"

    Legit question.
    You try to twist it into a racist thing.

    If words were gas, some people would be humvees!!
    Stan b & Elvis

  5. #25
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by road kill View Post
    That's ridiculus, I suggested nothing of the kind.
    I asked a question.
    And, in typical lefty fashion, you did not answer my question.
    I did not ask of the legality of it all.
    I asked "what were they doing there?"

    Legit question.
    You try to twist it into a racist thing.

    If words were gas, some people would be humvees!!
    My comment about the color of the individuals was based on yours: "...why Black men in uniform bradishing billy clubs were even at the voting site?"

    In answer, one of the men was a registered poll watchers and had every right to be standing outside the polling station or inside the polling station. The objective of a poll watcher is to try to observe that voting is being conducted legally and appropriately and to summon the police or or file with the election board in the event that problems are observed. This entire incident came to the attention of the police through the actions of poll watchers. If you watch the videos at the link I provided, http://hotair.com/archives/2008/11/0...-pennsylvania/, you will see not only the interview with the McCain campaign operative who came to investigate the presence of the two men and who called the police, along with video of the two men taken before the arrival of the police and video of the police when they responded by removing both men and ultimately arresting one of them. The purported reason the men were there was to ensure that no one would interfere with voting in a district that would overwhelmingly vote for Obama. There was nothing wrong with their presence or their purported objectives. The problem was the presence of the stick and their interference with a McCain operative when he entered the polling place (They did not stop him but did harass him.). During the videos you will see people entering and leaving freely.
    Last edited by YardleyLabs; 06-01-2009 at 04:04 PM.

  6. #26
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txbadger View Post
    Jeff, the point is the guy was arrested, found guilty and now receives no punishment for breaking the law. Instead his case is dropped after he's found guilty. What anyone else did isn't the point, just this case. Guilty = goes free doesn't compute in my books.
    There are two separate legal cases involved, but as I understand it you are wrong on both counts.

    The one guy was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct which is a summary offense -- that is, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent much like a traffic ticket. I do not know what punishment was imposed (presumably a fine). He was investigated by the DoJ which requested an injunction to prevent him from ever appearing at another polling station armed. Neither the individuals nor the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), which was named in this action, responded to the complaint leaving the DoJ in a position where it could request a summary judgment without trial which is what the DoJ appears to have decided to not pursue. In fact, the NBPP issued a statement condemning the actions by the Philadelphia chapter at the polling station and it suspended the chapter from membership "until further notice." There was no "punishment" associated with the DoJ actions, whether they were pursued to conclusion or not, and no finding of guilt.

  7. #27
    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    There are two separate legal cases involved, but as I understand it you are wrong on both counts.

    The one guy was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct which is a summary offense -- that is, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent much like a traffic ticket. I do not know what punishment was imposed (presumably a fine). He was investigated by the DoJ which requested an injunction to prevent him from ever appearing at another polling station armed. Neither the individuals nor the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), which was named in this action, responded to the complaint leaving the DoJ in a position where it could request a summary judgment without trial which is what the DoJ appears to have decided to not pursue. In fact, the NBPP issued a statement condemning the actions by the Philadelphia chapter at the polling station and it suspended the chapter from membership "until further notice." There was no "punishment" associated with the DoJ actions, whether they were pursued to conclusion or not, and no finding of guilt.
    Anybody know who funds the "NBPP?"

    Anybody??
    Stan b & Elvis

  8. #28
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    Here's what a civil rights activist who was there has to say about the affair:

    I could just as accurately say "Here's what a McCain campaign staffer has to say..." I am assuming that the author is either the person shown in the interview that I posted at the polling station or someone who accompanied him. There are three different videos taken by at least two different groups: a local TV station that only interviewed the McCain staffer, and what I assume was a student reporter from the University of Pennsylvania using his cell phone camera. None of the videos appear to support the description given in the article you quoted. I was not there and cannot testify to the facts beyond the standard practice in PA of having large numbers of people hanging out in front of the doors to polling stations attempting to influence voters. As far as I know, similar electioneering activities would be illegal in NJ and NY where I have also voted, but they are not illegal in PA.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    I could just as accurately say "Here's what a McCain campaign staffer has to say..."
    A Democrat and civil rights activist who happened to be a McCain staffer would probably be the most accurate. It is interesting that you chose to cast doubt on his version of events. I was more hoping you'd comment on what the Justice Dept. attorney told him both before and after the case was dropped:

    In March I received a call from an attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, asking me if I would confirm my experience in an affidavit in support of a suit under the Voting Rights Act to enjoin such activity. He said that if such conduct were not actionable under the Act, then nothing could be. He said my affidavit could involve risk as the NBPP had injured several policeman in an incident in New York. I said I would do it provided that they saw the law suit through to the end. On April 7 I signed the Affidavit.
    In early May the Federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered a default judgment versus King Shabazz enjoining him from again appearing at a polling place with a weapon. But on May 15, with victory certain because the other defendants (including the national NBPP) had not answered the proceeding, the new leadership at the Department of Justice dropped the case by filing a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal. The government attorney said to me: “The decision to drop the case against the other defendants came as a surprise to all of us working on it.” He said this failure to enforce the Voting Rights Act, the keystone of American civil rights legislation, would “embolden” other abuses in the future.

  10. #30
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    A Democrat and civil rights activist who happened to be a McCain staffer would probably be the most accurate. It is interesting that you chose to cast doubt on his version of events. I was more hoping you'd comment on what the Justice Dept. attorney told him both before and after the case was dropped:
    What was the abuse by the NBPP? I have tangled with the DoJ more than once and it is clear that their strategy is generally to bury you in legal costs regardless of the merits of the case to force a settlement (FWIW, my encounters have been under both Republican and Democrat admins and in both civil rights and non-civil rights cases). Failure to answer the complaint is not evidence of guilt. Given the nature of the injunction sought, the NBPP may well have decided not to spend the money needed to present a defense. I have no faith whatsoever in the integrity of the Bush DoJ attorneys (Witness what happened with former Republican Senator Ted Stevens when the Obama AG dropped all charges on a case that had been won because of gross prosecutorial misconduct.). I suspect the case was dropped because of the perception that the prosecution was simply wrong.

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