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  • The New Black Panther Party Case: Cast of Characters

    Editor’s Note: The Heritage Foundation drew heavily from The Washington Times and other news reports to compile this cast of characters.

    From the New Black Panther Party

    • Jerry Jackson—On Election Day 2008, Jackson was one of two New Black Panthers to visit a Philadelphia polling place wearing paramilitary garb. In response, the Department of Justice brought a lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party, Jackson, and two others. An elected member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee, Jackson was credentialed to be an official Democratic poll watcher. After the DOJ dropped the case against Jackson, Jackson served as a poll watcher four days later during Philadelphia municipal elections.
    • Minister King Samir Shabazz—Along with Jackson, King Samir Shabazz visited a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day 2008. King Samir Shabazz heckled voters with racial epithets—including “white devil” and “cracker”—and also brandished a nightstick. The incident at the Philadelphia poll did not mark the first time King Samir Shabazz has made inflammatory comments. In a 2009 National Geographic documentary, King Samir Shabazz appeared saying, “You want freedom? You’re gonna have to kill some crackers! You’re gonna have to kill some of their babies!” Like Jackson, King Samir Shabazz was one of the four original defendants in the DOJ case against the NBPP. While the DOJ dropped the case against the other three defendants, the department sought an extremely limited injunction against King Samir Shabazz. The NBPP claimed King Samir Shabazz acted on his own, with no direction from the national organization.
    • Malik Zulu Shabazz—Shabazz is the Chairman of the NBPP and has commented on Fox News that Jackson and King Samir Shabazz were justified in bringing a weapon to the polls because neo-Nazis were also present at the Philadelphia polling place. Along with Jackson and King Samir Shabazz, Shabazz was one of the four original defendants in the DOJ case. (The fourth was the NBPP itself.) The DOJ eventually dropped its case against Shabazz.


    • Bartle Bull—Bull is an attorney and former publisher of the Village Voice. He has been a civil rights activist since the 1960s, working in Mississippi and throughout the South. He was New York chairman of the Robert Kennedy for President campaign. Bull testified at the April 23 Commission hearing. He was a poll watcher at the Philadelphia polling place on election day. He saw the two Black Panthers and testified that it was the worst case of voter intimidation he had ever seen, going back to the 1960s in Mississippi. He also testified that he saw voters approach the polling place, turn around, and walk away because they were intimidated by the two Panthers.
    • Chris Hill—Hill testified before the Commission on April 23. He lives near the polling place. He was a registered poll watcher that day and testified that the Panthers were an intimidating presence. He heard them yell racial epithets at poll watchers. He saw voters turn around and walk away from the polling place because they were intimidated. He testified that black poll watchers inside the polling place were frightened. When he attempted to enter the polling place as was his right as a certified poll watcher, the two Panthers “closed ranks” in an attempt to block him, but he walked past them and in the door.

    From The Department of Justice

    Those who sought to pursue the case:

    • Christopher Coates—The chief of the DOJ voting section, Coates led the team of lawyers who pursued the case against the NBPP. As The Washington Times has reported, Coates was a former staff attorney for the ACLU Voting Rights Project and a former winner of the Thurgood Marshall Decade Award from the Georgia Conference of the NAACP. He was hired at the DOJ during the Clinton Administration. Once at the DOJ, Coates won the Civil Rights Division’s Walter Barnett Memorial Award for Excellence and Advocacy. When he was ordered to dismiss the case, Coates expressed surprise. He has said the Civil Rights Division’s focus under Obama is at risk of “enforc[ing] the Voting Rights Act in a racially biased fashion and turn[ing] a blind eye whenever incidents arise that indicate that minority persons have acted improperly in voting matters.” Coates now works in the U.S. Attorney’s office in South Carolina.
    • Robert Popper—The deputy chief of the DOJ voting section, Popper was among the team of lawyers who pursued the case against the NBPP.
    • J. Christian Adams—A career attorney who, according to The Washington Times, once won a special award for his work on behalf of black voters in Georgetown, S.C., Adams, along with Coates and Popper, was among the team of lawyers who pursued the case against the NBPP.  On June 4, Adams resigned from the DOJ and revealed in a letter that the acting DOJ supervisors, in violation of federal law, had ordered him and the other trial lawyers on the NBPP case not to testify in response to subpoenas issued by the United States Commission on Civil Rights. After he resigned, Adams was free to testify before the Civil Rights Commissionwhich he did July 6.
    • Spencer R. Fisher—A career attorney in the Justice Department, Fisher was the fourth member of the team of lawyers who pursued the case against the NBPP.
    • Diana K. Flynn—Chief of the DOJ Civil Rights Appellate Section, Flynn, at the unusual request of the acting DOJ supervisors, weighed in on the case. In a written memo, she backed the Coates team.
    • Marie K. McElderry—A lawyer in the DOJ Civil Rights Appellate Section, McElderry, along with Flynn, weighed in on the case at the request of the acting DOJ supervisorsand supported the Coates team.

    Those responsible for dismissing the case:

    • Loretta King—King was appointed by the Obama team to act in a supervisory role at the DOJ Civil Rights Division until the Senate confirmed a permanent division chief. She was the acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights during the key decision-making period of the NBPP case. King had not worked on a voting case since she left the Voting Section in the mid-1990s, but she did issue a decision last year that refused to let the majority-black town of Kinston, N.C., by its own choice, hold nonpartisan municipal elections, according to The Washington Times. She has been sanctioned by federal court judges for bringing unmeritorious cases and for failing to respond to court orders. King sought to undermine the NBPP case with spurious arguments and was one of the two supervisors who ordered the Coates team to dismiss the case.
    • Steven H. Rosenbaum—Rosenbaum, along with King, was appointed by the Obama team to act in a supervisory role at the DOJ Civil Rights Division until the Senate confirmed a permanent division chief. During the key decision-making period of the NBPP case, Rosenbaum was the acting deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights. He, too, had not worked on a voting case since he left the Voting Section in the mid-1990s. In 1995, he helped the Justice Department to intervene on behalf of the now-controversial ACORN community-agitating group in a voting-rights case in Illinois, according to The Washington Times. President Obama was one of ACORN’s lead attorneys in that case. Like King, Rosenbaum has been sanctioned by federal courts for misconduct. Rosenbaum gave the Coates team its first indication that they might be ordered to dismiss the NBPP case and, along with King, ordered the Coates team to dismiss the case and prevented them from responding to subpoenas issued by the Civil Rights Commission.
    • Thomas J. Perrelli—As Associate Attorney General, Perrelli was the third-ranking member of the DOJ throughout the NBPP case, and approved the decision to dismiss the NBPP defendants after being briefed. As The Washington Times points out, he had a strange habit of consulting White House lawyers in person at exactly the times the key Black Panther decisions were being made, and he approved the decision to dismiss the charges against the NBPP voting intimidators. Like Rosenbaum, he has a past connection with President Obama: He was the managing editor at the Harvard Law Review while Obama was the publication’s president. DOJ admits he was briefed on the contemplated action to dismiss the suit, and documents show memos were sent to him on the matter. Yet, DOJ will not provide any detail on the nature of his involvement, or that of his staff.
    • Thomas Perez—An Assistant Attorney General, Perez testified before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties that the NBPP case had been appropriately handled by the DOJ. Perez was less than candid about the facts of the case and even went so far as to insinuate that the Coates team might have violated Federal Rule 11, which prohibits lawyers from bringing frivolous actions. Perez testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on May 14, 2010, and again said the case had been handled appropriately based on the facts and the law. He also is the only official the DOJ has allowed to speak to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, but he was not in the Department when the decision was made, refused to answer certain questions about the decision, and the rest of his testimony has been characterized by Adams, under oath, as “inaccurate.” Based on recent revelations from Adams’s testimony, other portions of his testimony are at best misleading, including his oft-repeated claim that the decision to dismiss the suit was based solely on the facts and law. Whether that misleading testimony was knowingly given or merely based on an ignorance of the true facts is unclear, but the Department’s continued refusal to allow Coates to testify raises questions about why the Department would not want those with actual knowledge to testify.
    • Julie Fernandes—Appointed Deputy AAG for the Civil Rights Division by the Obama Administration, Fernandes is the senior political official under Perez responsible for voting rights enforcement. Adams testified under oath that he was told by Voting Section management that Fernandes gave instructions that no more cases would be brought against black defendants for the benefit of white victims. He also testified that, in his presence, Fernandes told Voting Section career staff that the Obama Administration had no interest in enforcing Section 8 of the Motor Voter law because it has nothing to do with increasing voter turnout. Section 8 requires states to remove ineligible voters from their voting rolls.
    • Gregory Katsas—Katsas testified under oath that the Associate Attorney General, if not the Attorney General, would be informed of a potential decision to reverse course and mostly dismiss a case that had been filed and was in default. The AAG, in this case Thomas Perrelli, would have the opportunity to object to the decision and overrule it. Katsas also testified that it would be a dereliction of duty for the AAG not to give the White House a heads up that such a decision was being made in a high-profile case, which Katsas said the NBBP case surely was.
    • Joseph Rich—The former Chief of the Voting Section in the Justice Department, Rich has been defending the dismissal of the New Black Panther case by the Obama Administration. Rich was reprimanded for unprofessional conduct during the Bush Administration after he deleted a recommendation to file a lawsuit against black defendants in Mississippi for violating the Voting Rights Act and misrepresenting that the lawyer investigating the case shared his position. This lawsuit led to the first ever judgment against black defendants for engaging in intentional and blatant racial discrimination and voter fraud to deny and dilute the ballots of white voters (U.S. v. Brown, 494 F.Supp.2d 440).
    • Spencer Overton—A Justice Department political appointee, Overton joined Perrelli at several meetings with White House officials. Overton is the author of “Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression,” and is a noted critic of Republican “ballot security” efforts and other measures such as requiring voters to show identification at the polls.
    • Eric Holder—Attorney General Holder was briefed on the decision to dismiss the NBPP case. What he knew and when he knew it, however, is unknown, for the AG refuses to directly answer any questions or letters sent to him by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. It is also unclear what role his staff played in the decision to dismiss the suit, whom they might have talked to from outside interest groups, and whether they also spoke to White House officials about the case and its political implications.

    From the White House

    • President Barack Obama—President Obama’s campaign website at one point featured a Web page highlighting an endorsement from the NBPP. Obama also has longtime ties with at least two key players in the NBPP case. Like Rosenbaum, Obama argued on behalf of the now-controversial ACORN community-agitating group in a voting-rights case in Illinois, and he worked with Perrelli on the Harvard Law Review.
    • Cassandra Butts—A former lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Butts was Deputy White House Counsel during the key decision-making period of the NBPP case and met with Perrelli numerous times in the White House. Her executive assistant, Rhonda Carter, also met with Perrelli.
    • Melody Barnes—White House Domestic Policy Adviser Barnes also met with Perrelli in the White House.
    • Danielle Gray—As Associate White House Counsel, Gray met with Perrelli in the Old Executive Office Building.
    • Susan Davies—Davies, like Gray, was Associate White House Counsel during the key decision-making period of the NBPP case. She met with Perrelli in the White House.
    • Gregory Craig—Also a member of White House Counsel, Gregory Craig met with Perrelli in the White House during the key decision-making period of the NBPP case. His executive assistant, Catherine Whitney, also met with Perrelli.

    Outside Groups

    • Kristen Clarke—An attorney for the NAACP, Clarke has admitted that she spoke to Justice Department lawyers about the case and shared the complaint with others.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to The New Black Panther Party Case: Cast of Characters

    1. Billie says:

      please break your mind from the "white supremacy" assumption. It isn't true. Anyone could go anywhere they wanted in America without spreading hatred. Why would you want to condition the minds of your "people" to hate? You're being just as oppressive and ignorant as the government. Jesus Christ loves all! His teachings will guide you to human dignity and respect for your fellow mankind of the human race.

      The undistorted teachings of Jesus Christ builds inner strength of individuals and teaches no discrimination of skin color or country of origin. People of the world follow Him. And He isn't white, if that's any consolation to you.

    2. Nathaniel says:

      Very well put together article. Thank you for the work.

      You might want to watch through that video you linked to… there are some inappropriate comments inserted.

    3. Billie says:

      Jesus is not white and if you look close, He's the color of all man.

    4. David says:

      I am confused. When I had dealings with the appeals department in Civil Rights, I spoke with a section chief named David Flynn. This says the section chief is now Dianna Flynn. Could this be a typo? Or did they get a new section chief with the same last name???

    5. Pingback: The New Black Panther Party Case: Cast of Characters - Whitley County Patriots

    6. Grace Brown says:

      I will be very disappointed if Obama is involved in such an outrageous decision. It seems to be fodder for right-wing activist. It does seem suspicious, that there are those, in this administration, who do sympathize with this hate filled group.

    7. Jerry, South Carolin says:

      The DOJ dismissed this case in January 2009. At that time Bush was still President. Is this too hard to understand?

      • Conn Carroll Conn Carroll says:

        The DOJ dismissed nothing in January 2009. True, the Bush DOJ did decide not to pursue a criminal case. But this scandal was never about the criminal case. It is about the civil case which the trial team was about to obtain a default judgment on until Obama political appointees intervened and dismissed the civil case in May 2009

    8. West Texan says:

      As a side note, I've grown tired of the weak excuse that whites take issue with a black president. Dang, Obama's skin color is the only saving grace about the man. His policy is what stinks. I had honestly hoped Condoleezza Rice would have thrown her hat in the presidential ring. Why did it have to be Obama?

    9. Jackson Pearson says:

      In all appearances, the USDOJ are in need of a thorough checkup, from the neck up. Why? Because they can't pick and choose which laws to enforce, and who they're going to enforce them on. That method will always lead to unequal, and selective justice. Maybe AG Eric Holder needs to go!

    10. Michael Graves, San says:

      Your article is an excellent piece because it provides the facts and the players. Light is so powerful. Thank You!

    11. Jerry, South Carolin says:

      The Bush DOJ decided to not pursue it because there was nothing there to pursue. The civil case was nothing more than a political tactic by the right wing. Who filed the civil case? Nobody who was there at the time other than a shill for the Repubs. By repeating the same talking points over and over doesn't make them true. Remember the "Death Panels" and birther fiasco's? The NBPP is an organization with 3 known members, small potatoes, not worth the time and effort. Plus there was no proof that they broke the law. What was said is and was reprehensible and should be condemned by all but there is this matter of free speech in something called the Constitution. You know the thing the Repubs are always trotting out when it serves their purpose.

    12. Greg B. Vail, AZ says:

      What I can't understand is how Eric Holder even got a law degree. Did his College have to fill a quota or something? This man is totally clueless. Did yo see him being grilled by Lidsey Graham about the Gitmo cases? His confused look made me laugh out loud. He looks and talks like he has a mike in his ear telling him where to go and what to do and tries tell him what to say, this last one is most difficult as the connection from his brain to his mouth is partly severed.

    13. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Those so-called "anti-defamation" groups, and many other Americans, are either hiding their heads in the sand, or totally ignorant to not just the numbers of actual members of NBPP, but to the number of supporters of such groups. Many are non-black supporters. They are the same anarchist and radical that are part of "rent a mob" bunch that are part of the Communist movement that support Obama and his agenda. Make no mistake about it! Obama sought the support of NBPP The dismissal of the case by Eric Holder is exactly why 91% of blacks voters still support Obama and NBPP. This has been coming since 1964. No one

      should be surprised that once this black was in the White House, it would all come to a head.

    14. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 7.19.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    15. Randall Harman Flori says:

      This was a very comprehensive article and highly informative. The current DOJ appears to be highly motivated along racial lines–in direct contrast to what was said during and after the last election.

    16. Pingback: New Black Panther Headlines — ExposeTheMedia.com

    17. Tim Az says:

      We used to be a country of laws. All that appears to be left is a country of elitists who pray on citizenry rich in apathy. For them the law is just an obstacle to be removed. Another fine aspect of fundamental transformation.

    18. Wildcat from Dallast says:

      I was reviewing this entire event from the video of the two New Black Panther Party members obviously intimidating voters at the entrance to the polling station to the former DOJ’s attorney who decided to leave rather than combat this from the inside and then something else came to light concerning this situation. Think back to Imus on the radio who made a disparaging comment about the Rutgers women’s basketball team members albeit without the intimidation factor and the “Justice Brothers” were all over it. You know, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

      Well, where are they when this actually happened in November 2008 and since then with the resignation of the DOJ attorney, the statement identifying the DOJ official who not only directed the dropping of the criminal case but then directed not to bring any more such cases in which blacks as well as other minority members would be the defendants and then the new video that clearly shows one of those same individuals spewing his ill conceived thoughts of “killing white crackers and cracker babies”? I don’t recall seeing them anywhere or even hearing a peep out of them about these specific racially charged situations involving one of the same people and the obvious reverse discrimination, have you?

      There has been a surprising interview or two on different Fox News shows with some rather heated exchanges between the current leader of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and Megyn Kelly and even more so with Geraldo Rivera. In fact, that leader of the NBPP was accompanied by three or more associates during his interview with Geraldo who appeared to be there for the sole purpose to intimidate the host, Geraldo. It didn’t work but it did demonstrate their true philosophy and accepted tactics as their standard.

      Add to these revelations that a tried and true Democrat film and documentary maker has now complied a series of these types of voter fraud and intimidation from multiple points across the country detailing a wider range of improprieties including the NBPP even intimidating other black voters who were NOT going to vote for Obama. While this documentary maker originally went to these locations to prove them wrong she quickly learned for herself that it was much worse than reported to her and appears that Obama supporters (official campaign workers and others including the NBPP) may have stolen the election from Hillary Clinton!

      Have we now met the criteria required to appoint a special prosecutor to look into these inter-related matters? I’m concerned it is either that or that we are about to the “lock & load” method as the Second American Revolution begins this summer whether or not we are ready for it!

    19. Chris, Springfield, says:

      What strikes me about the position the DOJ is taking is that it actually hurts blacks and other minorities. It hurts the momentum this country has gained since the late 50's and 60's and sends a message to whites that are so inclined that it's not about equality but power and to wield it when you have it. It says it's o.k. to discriminate as long as 'your' reasons are valid. After what's been achieved in this country and remains to be achieved, Martin Luther King would be so disappointed with what's taking place.

      What disappoints me the most is that I believed, based on his own words, that an Obama presidency would be a great additional step forward in moving beyond racial adversity. Unfortunately I think we're now going in reverse.

    20. Drew Page, IL says:

      And yet, the NAACP can find no time at its convention to address the antics of the NBPP. Instead, they took great pains to go after the white devils that attend the tea party tax protests.

      Apparently, denouncing those who call for the killing of "crackers" and their babies does nothing to advance the cause of African-Americans.

      For all of the rhetoric about the racist signs being carried at tea party protests and shouting the "n word" at African-American Congressmen, not a single shed of evidence can be found supporting these charges. With all the press coverage, all the TV cameras, cell phone cameras and other recording devices, no one has come forward with any recorded proof of these charges, despite the $100,000 reward offered by Brietbart to anyone who could.

      Now, it wouldn't surprise me at all if SEIU thugs were to show up at future tea party protests with such signs and shouting such insults, for the sole purpose of discrediting the tea party protests and those in attendance.

    21. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Wecome to the land of the new North American dictator.

      Obama is extracting reparations. He was coddling Al Queda until they killed Africans in Uganda. According to him and his preacher, Rev.Wright, Ameicans deserved all they get from the terror group. But all of a sudden, they became racists when they started killing Africans.

      NBPP case is just like the OJ case. "White oppressors deserved it."

      All the detailing of the case is for naught. What does it matter? They are getting away with it and more. Now, I hear through their network, NBC, that Obama has approved assasinations of Americans classified as terrorists (Ft.Hood shooter does not qualify) whether they are caught in the battlefield or far away from it.

      America! Wake up. This not your grandfather'e country anymore.

    22. James A. Huber Buffa says:

      this case and the failure to prosecute these obvious incidents of reverse discrimination and voter intimidation are a national disgrace and travesty those envolved should review their American history books and facts of the heroic and often tragic efforts of white Americans to organize and register black voters in the deep south in the 1960's is there any wonder of the divisive nature and CHARACTER of President Obama and his psycophantic minions the NAACP and all reputable black leaders are only encouraging the attraction of the "tea party" movement by their refusal to denounce the NBPP and it's actions the true "racists" in this country appear to be the heirs to the blood, sweat and tears of the martyrs that made their very votes available and significant

    23. Eddie says:

      Can someone please explain if David came before Dianna Flynn? Someone said David became Dianna. Surely that isn't possible.

    24. Pingback: Eric Holder gets defensive

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