Conservatives balk at handling of Panther case

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On Election Day 2008, two New Black Panther militia members stood outside of a polling place in Philadelphia and allegedly attempted to intimidate voters into casting the ballot for Barack Obama. One man brandished a police-style nightstick baton while the other man, a credentialed poll watcher, stood nearby.

Two months later, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil suit against the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and three of its members but later dropped the charges against all except for Minister King Samir Shabazz, the man who was seen carrying the nightstick.

J. Christian Adams, a former attorney for the Justice Department, testified before the Commission on Civil Rights that the department instructed its lawyers to ignore voter intimidation cases involving white victims.

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Did the Justice Department, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, mishandle the voter intimidation case? And, if so, was it because the defendants were African-American?

Some on the conservative right question whether media outlets should have done more to report the incident.

In the video above Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s Morning Joe discussed the case and those issues with Republican Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf and New York Times columnist Charles Blow.

Wolf purports that if two KKK members had intimidated voters at the polls they would have been prosecuted to the full extent. However, Blow points out the fact that, although the Panthers are being accused of voter intimidation, there have been no actual complaints from voters who said they felt intimidated.

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