Cracking the New Black Panther case
UPDATE: This post has been edited to correct an error in the original piece, which referred to one of the wrong commissioners.
I didn't attend Friday's Civil Rights Commission grilling of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez. The GOP-leaning organization was following up on a hearing last month on the case of members of the fringe New Black Panther Party who annoyed voters outside a Philadelphia polling place. Ryan J. Reilly of Main Justice attended Friday's session.
[Commissioner Gail] Heriot also asked why a more expansive injunction was not sought against the man [who stood outside the polling place]. She worried that access to public transportation could allow him to roam around surrounding counties intimidating voters.
“It’s easy for him to just hop on a bus,” she said. “He’s not so stupid that he doesn’t know just how to hop on a bus.”
“Well he could go to New Jersey I guess, so should we expand it to New Jersey?” asked Perez.
“Yes!” said [Commissioner Toddl] Gaziano and Heriot simultaneously. Gaziano later demanded that a special prosecutor be appointed to look into the case.
The farcical nature of the case has bothered Commissioner Abigail Thernstrom, a respected conservative historian on racial issues.