Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Feds Sue New Black Panthers Over Election Day Dispute

Remember these guys from the Nov. 4 general election. The U.S. Department of Justice does. The feds sued the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense today, accusing the organization of attempting to intimidate voters. The Justice Department is asking a judge for an injunction to prevent future "deployment" of New Black Panther members at polling places during elections. You can read the Department's full press release after the jump.

Feds Sue New Black Panthers Over Election Day Dispute

Remember these guys from the Nov. 4 general election?  The U.S. Department of Justice does.  The feds sued the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense today, accusing the organization of attempting to intimidate voters.  The Justice Department is asking a judge for an injunction to prevent future "deployment" of New Black Panther members at polling places during elections.  You can read the Department's full press release after the jump.

Justice Department Seeks Injunction Against New Black Panther Party

Lawsuit Seeks to Prohibit Voter Intimidation in Future Elections

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act against the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and three of its members alleging that the defendants intimidated voters and those aiding them during the Nov. 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.

The Civil Rights Division enforces the Voting Rights Act of 1965. To file complaints about discriminatory voting practices, including acts of harassment or intimidation, voters may call the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931. More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice’s web site at www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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