By Steven Nelson
Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that voter intimidation by
members of the New Black Panther Party was different than the
historic intimidation experienced by "my people."
The New Black Panther Party had uniformed members stationed outside
of Philadelphia polling stations in November 2008 shouting racial
insults. One carried a nightstick.
Holder responded to statements made by Texas Republican Rep. John
Culberson at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. Culberson
said, "There's clearly overwhelming evidence that your Department of
Justice refuses to protect the rights of anybody other than
African-Americans to vote."
Holder said, "When you compare what people endured in the South in
the '60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, to
compare what people subjected to that with what happened in
Philadelphia… I think does a great disservice to people who put their
lives on the line for my people."
In December, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a scathing
report on the Justice Department's handling of the New Black Panthers case.
Civil Rights Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds wrote, "Because
the Department withheld relevant documents and relevant officials'
and supervisors' witness testimony, the Commission was limited in its
ability to complete a final report."
"Based upon the incomplete, incorrect and changing explanations
offered by the Department for its actions, the Commission decided to
examine whether the U.S. Department of Justice enforced voting rights
in a race-neutral manner when it reversed course in the New Black
Panther Party case," Reynolds wrote in an introductory letter for the report.
The Justice Department had dropped nearly all charges against
defendants from the New Black Panther Party.
"The Department refused to comply with certain Commission requests
for information concerning DOJ's enforcement actions, and it
instructed its employees not to comply with the Commission's
subpoenas for testimony," Reynolds wrote.
The New Black Panther Party has been denounced by leaders of original
Black Panther Party as a bastardized, racist version of the 60s' group.
Reacting to the new group, co-founder of the original Black Panthers,
Bobby Seale, said, "The Black Panther Party were not revenge
nationalists. My organization was all power to all the people whether
you're black, white, blue, green, yellow, or polka dot."
"The Party operated on love for black people, not hatred of white
people," said the foundation dedicated to the memory of the late Huey Newton.
Megan Mitchell, communications director for Culberson, told The Daily
Caller, "the congressman believes that the attorney general needs to
be the attorney general of all Americans."