Politics & Policy

Unequal Justice

Team Obama lets the Black Panthers get away with voter intimidation.

Voters at a precinct on Philadelphia’s Fairmount Street witnessed unusual sights and sounds on Election Day, Nov. 4, 2008. Two members of the New Black Panther party, King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson, stood within 15 feet of this polling station dressed in military-style black jackets, black berets, and black combat boots. Shabazz wielded a two-foot-long night stick.

“Cracker, you are about to be ruled by a black man,” one of the New Black Panthers told a white voter. They taunted others as “white devils.” Angela and Larry Counts, a black couple who served as GOP poll watchers, told authorities they felt endangered when the Panthers called them “race traitors.”

At an April 23, 2010, U.S. Civil Rights Commission hearing, Chris Hill, an eyewitness and roving poll watcher, explained under oath that he spoke with Larry Counts inside the precinct. “When I found him, he was not quite cowering, but he was definitely shook up,” Hill testified. “And he told me that he was called a race traitor by Mr. Shabazz . . . and that he was threatened if he stepped outside of the building, there would be hell to pay.”

A Dec. 22, 2008, Justice Department memorandum states that Mr. and Mrs. Counts “confirmed that they were afraid to leave the polling place until the Black Panthers had departed.” The memo adds that Angela Counts “wondered what might occur next and if someone might ‘bomb the place.’”

Legendary civil-rights attorney and liberal-Democrat activist Bartle Bull was at the Fairmount Street precinct. Bull’s left-wing credentials are not sterling. They are platinum. The former publisher of the Village Voice served as New York State campaign manager for Ted Kennedy’s 1980 presidential bid. He did the same for Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. As early as 1966, he watched polls and served Democratic candidates in such places as Midnight, Miss. “I saw nooses hung over the branches of trees,” he told the Civil Rights Commission.

Bull recalled that on the day Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, “the gentleman with the club,” King Samir Shabazz, “pointed the billy club at me and said, ‘Now you will see what it means to be ruled by the black man, Cracker.’ And the reason I recall that very well is because it struck me as ironic that having worked as a civil-rights lawyer and being threatened in Mississippi, I was now being threatened in this way here, and being called a cracker, frankly.”

So, the Panthers behaved menacingly, used some nasty language, and terrified at least two poll watchers. But did they actually intimidate voters? Eyewitnesses say they did.

• The DOJ memo states: “Attorney poll watcher Harry Lewis told us he saw voters appear apprehensive about approaching the polling location entrance behind the Black Panthers.”

• Chris Hill told that Civil Rights Commission: “As I was standing on the corner, I had two older ladies and an older gentleman stop right next to me, ask what was going on. I said, ‘Truthfully, we don’t really know. All we know is there’s [sic] two Black Panthers here.’ And the lady said, ‘Well, we’ll just come back.’ And so, they walked away.” Referring to the Panthers, Hill added: “I saw these guys. They attempted to intimidate me. I’m Army Infantry. I don’t intimidate, but they did stop those three people from voting at that second.”

Surely the Obama administration prosecuted Shabazz and Jackson for voter intimidation?


When they ignored late-term Bush-administration charges of Voting Rights Act violations, federal district judge Stewart Dalzell issued a default ruling against Shabazz, Jackson, the New Black Panther party, and its chairman, Malik Zulu Shabazz (no relation to the other Shabazz). Although career federal prosecutors won this case (arguing, among other things, that “there is never a good reason to bring a billy club to a polling station”), they were overruled by political appointees in Pres. Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department, who ordered them to dismiss the complaints against all parties except King Samir Shabazz. He was ordered not to exhibit a weapon within 100 feet of a Philadelphia precinct through Nov. 15, 2012. Shabazz presumably would abide by this injunction if he brandished his baton at voters 105 feet from a polling place or did so in Philadelphia in 2013. Pittsburgh seems fair game.

The May 15, 2009, case dismissal was timed perfectly for Jerry Jackson. During the Election Day 2008 incident, he was an elected member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee and a credentialed poll watcher for the Democratic party and the Obama campaign. With the federal case safely behind him, Jackson watched the polls again for the Democrats in municipal elections on May 19, 2009.

This situation is even more outrageous given the unvarnished bigotry of those involved. 

• “You want freedom, you gonna have to kill some crackers,” King Samir Shabazz says on a National Geographic/YouTube video. “You gonna have to kill some of they [sic] babies.”

“I’m about the total destruction of white people,” Shabazz told the Philadelphia Daily News’s Dana DiFilippo. “I’m about the total liberation of black people. I hate white people. I hate my enemy.” Shabazz likes to relax by putting on his headphones and listening to “revolutionary, cracker-killing hip-hop.”

• “F*** Whitey’s Christmas,” read a message on Jerry Jackson’s MySpace page, until it was whitewashed once Kerry Picket uncovered it in the July 30, 2009, Washington Times. “BLACK POWER, BLACK LOVE, BLACK UNITY, BLACK MINDS, KILLIN CRAKKKAS,” stated Jackson’s webpage.

• The leftist Southern Poverty Law Center calls NBPP “a hate group based on the anti-white, anti-gay, and anti-Semitic views its leaders have repeatedly expressed.” The NBPP is so bigoted, it has been repudiated even by the original Black Panthers.

• “Let’s talk about this brother,” NBPP president Malik Zulu Shabazz says at a public gathering while someone holds up a large photo of al-Qaeda chief “Sheik Osama bin Laden,” as Shabazz calls him. As crowd members shout “Allahu akbar,” Shabazz continues: “He’s standing up. He’s bringing reform to this world.” Speaking on March 22, 2002 — more than six months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — Shabazz says: “Here’s a Muslim that’s [sic] standing up. . . .  Let’s give him a hand, man.” The audience bursts into applause and cheers. “If the enemy hates him,” Shabazz concludes about bin Laden, “tangentially, logically, mathematically, he’s your friend.”

Why would the supposedly ethnically transcendent Obama administration distribute free passes to the black equivalent of Klansmen with a soft spot for al-Qaeda? Blame power-lust and unequal justice under law.

J. Christian Adams, until recently a career attorney in the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Division, testified under oath July 6 before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. He offered an insider’s view of the politicized, radical atmosphere within Obama’s Justice Department.

• According to Adams, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes last November instructed prosecutors on the “Motor Voter” law that governs voter registration. Regarding that statute’s Section 8 — which requires that local officials purge their rolls of relocated, ineligible, and dead voters — Adams recalls hearing Fernandes, an Obama political appointee, say: “We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.” Such lawlessness, of course, invites ACORN-style vote fraud.

• As a July 6 Washington Times editorial (one of at least 31 that have advanced this story) noted, Adams also testified that “There is an open hostility to race-neutral enforcement of the voting-rights laws.” He added: “I was told by Voting Section management that cases are not going to be brought against black defendants on the benefit of white victims.”

Adams, who resigned from Justice in protest on June 1, encapsulated the Obama administration’s moral bankruptcy in this case: “We abetted wrongdoers and abandoned law-abiding citizens.”

– Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


The Latest