Justice Department Alleges Voter Intimidation by New Black Panther Party
by Jim Kouri
During an interview on March 20 with Black Panther leader Malik Zulu Shabazz, Fox News Channel viewers learned that Shabazz' group endorsed and supported Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.
Even on Fox -- an organization wrongly accused of being "conservative" -- the interviewers were careful in their questioning of Shabazz, a recognized racist and anti-American radical.
The New Black Panther Party leader proudly announced on Fox News that his organization endorsed and Obama for President.
"While some people may say that Barack Obama has no control over who endorses him, he should have control over what endorsements are posted on his websites," said Laurie Roth, who, besides hosting a popular syndicated talk show, is a political pundit.
"The endorsement of the New Black Panther Party was posted on Barack Obama's website. Why was this tolerated unless Barack Obama wanted their endorsement? If he does not want their endorsement, how much control over his staff is he going to have once he's elected President?" asks Mike Baker.
After Obama's Tuesday damage-control speech, his campaign pulled the Black Panthers' endorsement story off their website. The Obama campaign also requested that the Panthers remove news of the group's endorsement from its own website, which it did.
Now, the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense is making news headlines again because the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act against the militant group and three of its members alleging that the defendants intimidated voters and those aiding them during the November 4, 2008, general election.
The complaint, filed in the United States District Court in Philadelphia, alleges that, during the election, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were deployed at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling location wearing the uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and that Samir Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style baton weapon.
"Intimidation outside of a polling place is contrary to the democratic process," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Grace Chung Becker. "The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to protect the fundamental right to vote and the Department takes allegations of voter intimidation seriously."
According to the complaint, party Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz confirmed that the placement of Samir Shabazz and Jackson in Philadelphia was part of a nationwide effort to deploy New Black Panther Party members at polling locations on Election Day.
The complaint alleges a violation of Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits intimidation, coercion or threats against "any person for voting or attempting to vote." The Department seeks an injunction preventing any future deployment of, or display of weapons by, New Black Panther Party members at the entrance to polling locations.
The New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which claims active chapters nationwide, is distinct from the Black Panther Party founded by Bobby Seale in the 1960s.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.