13 Jul 2010 Black Leader Again Requests Obama Call for Black Panther Special Prosecutor
Washington, D.C. — After seven months of silence, and with controversy growing by the day, the chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network sent President Barack Obama a second certified letter asking for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Justice Department’s questionable handling of its voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party.
Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie wrote a letter to President Obama on December 4, 2009 asking for a special prosecutor that continues to remain unanswered. In his second certified letter to President Obama, dated July 8, 2010, Massie wrote: “During the time that I have not been dignified with a reply, the problem has festered to a point where perceptions of racial bias within your Justice Department cannot be ignored.”
“Seeing that President Obama has ignored reasonable requests by me and others for a thoughtful investigation of the alleged flagrant abuses at the Justice Department, one can only deduce that the actions there may have his silent support,” said Massie.
On Election Day 2008, three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense were alleged to have intimidated voters outside of a Philadelphia polling place. Career attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice pursued a case against the men and were on the verge of a verdict against them when Obama Administration political appointees at the Department were said to have “ordered them to reverse course” on the case.
Charges against two of the men were the dropped completely, and the man wielded a nightstick at the polling place on Election Day 2008 was ordered to refrain from do so again until November 15, 2012.
In his original certified letter to President Obama, which was received by the White House on December 14, 2009, Project 21’s Massie pointed out the seriousness of the allegations and the concern Obama and his key allies — including Attorney General Eric Holder — expressed in the past for allegations of unethical behavior and avoidance of civil right prosecutions at the Justice Department.
In his request, which was repeated in the second letter, Massie wrote: “Because of your past concern about maintaining the Justice Department’s impartiality, actions taken in response to past allegations and new revelations of a separate but no less serious incident taking place under the Justice Department’s new leadership, I ask for your assistance in seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor.”
Since then, one of the career attorneys who prosecuted the case — J. Christian Adams — has resigned in protest about the handling of the case. Adams testified to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that the Obama Justice Department “abetted wrongdoing and abandoned law-abiding citizens” with regard to the New Black Panther Party case.
Adams has further testified that “[t]here is an open hostility to race-neutral enforcement of voting rights laws” within the Obama Justice Department and that career staff are being ordered not to comply with Civil Rights Commission subpoenas for more information about the case.
“It’s very disconcerting that the Obama Justice Department seems to have a double-standard regarding racism,” noted Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli. “While they are fighting the Arizona immigration law in part because it is claimed that it might erode civil rights, they are reportedly unwilling to do anything about voting rights complaints that don’t fit a politically-correct framework. Justice is supposed to be color-blind, but it sees to have become racially politicized under the first black president and first black attorney general. This erodes the Obama Administration’s credibility.”
Massie added: “The President’s inaction with regard to the New Black Panther Party case allows the perception of racial bias at the Justice Department to fester. It is yet another curious and questionable action regarding race by this White House that will likely impact how history perceives Obama. One thing he could do to help himself if answer Project 21’s certified letter.”
Massie has sent a copy of this second letter to Congressman Frank Wolf, ranking member of the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee; Congressman Lamar Smith, ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary; Congressman Darrell Issa, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Senator Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).