The United States Civil Rights Commission held a public hearing on New Black Panther Party voter intimidation investigation.
The hearing focused on 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.
The commission’s goal was to collect facts related to civil charges brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and examine the department’s actions that led it to dismissing most of the case last year, causing anger among many conservatives, according to media reports.
Former defendants Jerry Jackson and King Samir Shabazz were among the Black Panthers who attended the hearing, as were the Republican poll watchers who called the police.
Todd Gaziano, who serves as Senior Fellow in Legal Studies and the director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, said the DOJ should admit a mistake and reopen the investigation, as dismissing the case could encourage other hate groups to start their own voter intimidation campaigns, according to Main Justice, a public policy news website.
Gaziano and others also complained that during the hearing Shabazz took pictures of the commission, the witnesses and the audience, saying it was meant as an act of intimidation.
The New Black Panther Party has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-white rhetoric.