As the Obama administration tries to stave off criticism over its dismissal of the investigation into the alleged New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case last year, a top Justice Department official testified on May 14 in front of the United States Civil Rights Commission.
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez spent 90 minutes defending the department’s actions, saying there were no alternative motivations behind the decision to drop the case by then-Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Loretta King, according to Main Justice.
"This is a case about career people disagreeing with career people," he was quoted as saying by the news provider, seemingly implying that the dispute was primarily between lawyers.
However, Perez entered into a heated exchange with Commissioner Gail Heriot who pressed him to answer why a more expansive injunction was not sought against a member of the Black Panther party who had carried a nightstick, the news source further reported.
The ongoing inquiry stems from an incident on Election Day 2008 at a Philadelphia polling station where members of the New Black Panther Party allegedly tried to intimidate voters by standing in military-style garb outside.
Late last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed most of the case, causing anger among many conservatives.
Main Justice reports that the commission’s report is scheduled to be released before the mid-term elections.