Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that voter intimidation by members of the New Black Panther Party was different than the historic intimidation experienced by “my people.”
The New Black Panther Party had uniformed members stationed outside of Philadelphia polling stations in November 2008 shouting racial insults. One carried a nightstick.
Holder responded to statements made by Texas Republican Rep. John Culberson at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. Culberson said, “There’s clearly overwhelming evidence that your Department of Justice refuses to protect the rights of anybody other than African-Americans to vote.”
Holder said, “When you compare what people endured in the South in the ’60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, to compare what people subjected to that with what happened in Philadelphia… I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line for my people.”
In December, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a scathing report on the Justice Department’s handling of the New Black Panthers case.
Civil Rights Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds wrote, “Because the Department withheld relevant documents and relevant officials’ and supervisors’ witness testimony, the Commission was limited in its ability to complete a final report.”
“Based upon the incomplete, incorrect and changing explanations offered by the Department for its actions, the Commission decided to examine whether the U.S. Department of Justice enforced voting rights in a race-neutral manner when it reversed course in the New Black Panther Party case,” Reynolds wrote in an introductory letter for the report.
The Justice Department had dropped nearly all charges against defendants from the New Black Panther Party.
“The Department refused to comply with certain Commission requests for information concerning DOJ’s enforcement actions, and it instructed its employees not to comply with the Commission’s subpoenas for testimony,” Reynolds wrote.
The New Black Panther Party has been denounced by leaders of original Black Panther Party as a bastardized, racist version of the 60s’ group.
Reacting to the new group, co-founder of the original Black Panthers, Bobby Seale, said, “The Black Panther Party were not revenge nationalists. My organization was all power to all the people whether you’re black, white, blue, green, yellow, or polka dot.”
“The Party operated on love for black people, not hatred of white people,” said the foundation dedicated to the memory of the late Huey Newton.
Megan Mitchell, communications director for Culberson, told The Daily Caller, “the congressman believes that the attorney general needs to be the attorney general of all Americans.”