November 4th, 2008
03:47 PM ET
14 years ago

Man asked to leave Philly polling place

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Voters checked in a Philadelphia polling place Tuesday."]
(CNN) - A man wearing what appeared to be a black outfit with a beret and holding a nightstick was asked by police to leave a polling location in Philadelphia Tuesday, according to Philadelphia County Board of Elections Supervisor, Bill Rubin.

Rubin says the man left without incident. He says another man wearing similar attire had a poll watcher certificate and was allowed to remain at the polling site at 1221 Fairmont Avenue.

A video posted on Youtube, by, shows two men standing several feet in front of the entrance to Guild House West, the polling location for the 4th Division of Ward 14 in Philadelphia. The cameraman in the video asks a man with a nightstick who he's with and the man responds, "I'm security." The cameraman later says "I think it might be a little bit intimidating that you have a stick in your hand."

Rubin says local election rules state a person cannot be within 10 to 15 feet of the entrance to a polling place unless that person is voting, is a poll worker, or has a poll watcher certificate.

Rubin says anyone practicing voter intimidation outside that 10 to 15 foot perimeter could pose a public safety issue and would be handled by the police.

Cathie Abookire, a spokewoman for the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, says the office is not investigating the matter, calling it a "non-incident." Abookire says, "We have had no complaints from any voters that they have been intimidated."

Filed under: Pennsylvania • Voter Problems
soundoff (559 Responses)
  1. Mike

    A "black outfit and beret"? GIVE ME A BREAK – THATS THE BLACK PANTHERS. Im sure if a guy showed up in a white hood and white robe, they would definitely be calling him a member of the KKK and it would take up the entire front page of the web site.

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Obama2008

    Vote for obama we dont need another 4 years of bush. Mccain voted with bush 90% of the time. Save ur families from being murdered in the war. Vote for: obama

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. sweetpea

    i think this is so sad, if the klan were at a poll, just for "secrurity", well my god, the NAACP would be there so fast, it would make your head spin, and he WOULD have got arrested. So who really gets the double standard????

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Zess

    All you guys need to do is go and get NWA's album Fear of a Black Planet. That will sum it all up in a nutshell. IT IS SAD! REALLY REALLY SAD.

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. proud army and navy mom

    The black panters were disbanned years ago.

    There goes the undereducated repugs again trying to make something out of nothing.

    Lest you forget the skinheads threatening to kill black people in TN last week. They were the real threats, these were a couple of citizens trying to do their job not to intimidate anyone.

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Joe

    Why are you so afraid of saying they were BLACK PANTHERS?!

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Proud to be American

    Thank you CNN for tracking these issues and keeping us up to date. We have learn that we are not going to let any votes get surppresed and with you keeping and eye on this Every American that votes voice will be heard... that is my prayer!

    God Bless America

    ************************ Obama and Biden 2008 ******************* <== had to put that plug in (smile) now if you have not go and Barrack the vote!

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. sbrezzz

    Previous post:

    Pat November 4th, 2008 3:57 pm ET

    "We never questioned Bush for 8 years? Look what we got. Anyone who raises questions is shouted down (notice how the pundits overtalk their guests when they don"t agree?)

    I think Sara is a fine young lady – serving our country is getting harder and harder to do – especially when you don't go with the mainstream.

    Remember Hitler's rise to power – and beware."


    WHAT exactly are you saying Pat?

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. student of change

    I honestly think that the man should hav been arrested if he really was intimidating voters. Everyone has a right to vote and have their own oppinions but either way it shouldn't have to be a race issue... Wat happened to the land of the free...people seriously

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. topflyer

    What did obama mean by "CIVILIAN NATIONAL SECURITY FORCE"? Is that anything like the blalck panther standing guard at the Philidelphia polling place?

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |

    For all of the white men of European descent, fear not my brothers for we have the ultimate power!! Its called our check books. Because the minute I feel like I'm getting screwed by this Country and the president I will make sure I lower my taxes through either lower productivity of creative accouting practices. Its easy to render a snake harmless, just chop off its head.

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. Obar

    I have seen Black Panthers before, and this guy sure was wearing the "uniform" as was his friend who is still at the polling place. You are naive if you think this was not an attempt to intimidate voters. If this had been a skinhead in Georgia, I gurantee it woud not be considered a "non-story".

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Obama Voter

    Everybody!!!! Shut up and watch the election. God has already chosen the winner so deal with it. If it is a problem with who wins, move out of the country. If you are making $250,000 a year, you can afford it. Everyone else should be voting for Obama and giving him a chance. The world has proved in this election that if you have any percentage of black blood in your body, you are black. It kills me to know that some people will only vote for McCain because they don't want to see this big of a change. Most of you McCain voters are struggling with these high taxes and always will because you are selfish and racist. If you never succeed in life, blame yourself.

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Kristy

    I agree with Pat! Hitler's rise to power came to a nation at a time when it was down – unpopular with the rest of the world for insighting a war and in the midst of a huge economic crisis. Sound familiar?

    That nation was promised change, and boy did they get it! Be discerning, my fellow Americans, or lose your freedom... even to wear black and carry a big stick near a polling place...

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Hawk

    He had probably just come from a World Series celebration. LOL

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Al-O-bama

    I saw this incident on TV at lunch, and it was surreal. First, the guy with the night stick, baton, whatever...what is he doing there unless he's trying to intimidate people, even if it is a Obama neighborhood. Glad the police got him out of there. Then the second guy, the legitimate poll-watcher, just sounded stupid telling the reporter they couldn't be there. The police were called on the news team, and it was determined that of course they have a right to be there, as much as a legitimate poll-watcher does. But on the other side of this, this isn't the radical 60s. Yes, there are still people who keep the 'Blank Panther' ideology alive, but the Black Panthers are a non-entity today, even if some official group does still exist. They're not out threatening voters, or setting off bombs. It's a stupid and horrible way to make a point during one of the most historic elections in America's history, but they have the right to do it. I can't stand these Panther-wannabes any more than I can stand the stupid wannabe-Klan hicks that are still extant here in Alabama. Funny how they think their causes are so different, when they're exactly the same. Racism does terrible things to feeble minds...

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Frankie

    Video's online. My link didn't post. You can search. The keywords are "Security patrols stationed at polling places in Philly" ...

    anyway, you can watch and draw your own conclusions.

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Steve

    Oh wow. A trick from the Right Wing? Yeah that makes sense. We sent this guy out there to talk about how the white supremacy will end and a black man will be in office. That should get people voting for McCain.


    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. nobama

    Why does this story not say who the man was representing. The Black Panthers.

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Teresa

    Maybe he lost his mind and thought that today is still Halloween.

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Frank

    Notice:They didnt show pictures of the men in their Black Panther uniforms...

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. Jurbs

    I decided who I would vote for once I heard that a terrorist group was quoted saying, "We hope and pray that Obama is elected as President." I'd rather vote for McCain- a man who refused to leave a POW camp until all 25 of his guys were rescued first. The guy knows how to fight a war- he can lead this country through the one we're in now. Regardless of who is voted into office- I just hope and pray that God places the right person into the role of President.

    November 4, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Sean

    All of you republicans that stuck "W" in office and completely screwed over the rest of the country can now sit back and watch as we put the United States back on track. Keep your rude comments to yourself, because quite frankly the rest of the world is sick of it. You had 8 years to better this country and failed miserably in doing so. It's just really coincidental that we havent heard a peep out of "W" in this election. McCain is no different. Just take a look around at the ecomomy, the wars, could you even consider another bush/McCain. Go Obama!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. really?

    Come on CNN, your bias is showing again. Video of this incident is already all over the internet. Maybe you are upset because Fox scooped you. For everyone else, it was two black males, one with a nightstick. They were wearing Black Panther uniforms. They got into the face of the Fox reporter and some guy with a video camera. The police got rid of one of them. Come on CNN, report it right or do not bother.

    November 4, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. ThatOne

    Where is the vidio CNN. Put it up. The one I saw showed no intimidation. Come on. Put up or shut up. What about Fox News stalking William Ayers going to vote. Come on. Throw it all out there. How about all that voter registration material all over I-4 in Florida last night. Where is that story? How about Tim Robbins not being on the voter rolls in NYC after voting in the same precinct for 10 years. Come on, where are those stories? What can't fit it in? Gotta show that Joe the Plumber? Get real. Where oh where is there any real news stations. Ted Turner, get back to your baby and fix it! Please.

    November 4, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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