September 9th, 2009
06:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Sources: Justice examining handling of alleged intimidation case

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Justice Department unit has opened an internal inquiry into how government lawyers handled a controversial case of alleged voter intimidation by members of the New Black Panther Party on Election Day, sources told CNN.

The department did not announce the inquiry. The sources, who asked not to be identified, said the decision does not signal a formal investigation, but reflects responsiveness to lingering concerns.

The Obama Justice Department said in May it was dropping its complaint against three men in Philadelphia who identified themselves as belonging to the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

The complaint against the men, filed in January, alleged that on November 4, during the general election, Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were stationed at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling place wearing the uniform of their organization. The complaint, filed in federal court, said Shabazz brandished a "police style baton weapon."

Video of the incident drew heavy attention on Web sites.

On July 10, Republican lawmakers formally asked the Justice Department's inspector general to "investigate whether improper political considerations led the Justice Department to dismiss a voter intimidation case." In July the inspector general said he was referring the case to the Office of Professional Responsibility, which examines allegations against department attorneys. That office has now opened an inquiry.

"I am pleased that someone at the Justice Department is finally taking the dismissal of the New Black Panther Party case seriously," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who was among those who signed the letter requesting a probe.

"The Justice Department's decision to drop a case against political allies who allegedly intimated voters on Election Day 2008 reeks of political interference," he said.

Filed under: Justice Department
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Just My Opinion in Texas

    Hmm .. seems Eric Holder didn't sweep this one under the rug very well.

    September 9, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  2. Christian Values

    "The Justice Department's decision to drop a case against political allies who allegedly intimated voters on Election Day 2008 reeks of political interference," he said.
    Well then we should be investigating the tea baggers as well. They are standing and voicing opinions, and in cases, intimidating others with their loud and ignorant lies.

    I'm not saying that I condone of what the men did, but if we are going to be fair, then we need to pursue the tea baggers as well.

    September 9, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. joe m

    questions need to be answered as to why the investigation into this matter was ever dropped. had it been members of a right wing group that appeared on the video and the left would have been mounting protest and all sorts of acts of civil disobedience until those individuals had been brought to trial and convicted. dropping the intitial investigation really does raise suspicions and very disturbing questions.

    September 9, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. rw

    I disagree with Palin's Jenga, but the plan proposed is not going to work.
    We just don't do universal health care in this country. Why don't they just have people go into Medicare if they are uninsured. Most people are covered at work , and to blunt don't care paying for illegal aliens free coverage.

    They need to pay down that national debt before anything.

    September 9, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. annie against biased news

    There was a video out on this but I am sure the obama mis-administration has had that destroyed. The racist holder probably had that destroyed immediately.

    September 9, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. Ridgeway

    Brown Shirts.

    September 9, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. Bring me to your "leader"

    Ayers, Wright, Dorne, Van Jones, a few more Czars, Alinsky etc, etc and his admins dismissing of these charges of two thugs who brandished batons or billy clubs and yelled "real nice things" at white voters and what outcome do you non-sheep come up with.

    Right off the bat, the Cambidge cops acted stupidly, again, anyone detect a pattern?

    "Typical white Grandmother", "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country", "I as a wise latina woman would more often than not, make a better decision than a white male" etc, etc, etc

    ACORN, bueller, bueller is this on?

    You make you own decisions based on these FACTS.

    Feel free to send this to the still in business Obama rat squad site, they got rid of one, but just renamed it.

    Congratulations progressives.

    September 9, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. Jon in CA

    Eric Holder is TOO busy investigating the CIA and too much of a COWARD to investigate a few of his "brothers".

    September 9, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. mike

    I hear uhbamas group, ACORN, is in trouble down in Florida. Voter fraud again.

    September 9, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. Jerry Case

    As a citizen that voted for President Obama, I too was disturbed by the video that clearly showed the hostile behavior by these men. I sent a letter to the White House voicing my dismay at how the charges were dismissed for what was a clear instance of voter intimidation.

    I hope that those individuals are prosecuted.

    September 9, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  11. Pel

    Where was all this concern when the votes were tampered with in several counties in Florida Also, the republicans had people in the area to try and scare voters at the voting places. Ask the people in Duval County. The same thing happened in Ohio.

    September 9, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |