Report Debunks Black Panther Case Conspiracy

It concludes once and for all that political pressure and race played no role in the dismissal of defendants.

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A New Black Panther Party Member stands outside a polling place. (demotix.com)

After two years of right-wing obsession and conspiracy theories surrounding the Department of Justice decision to drop civil charges against three New Black Panther Party defendants who allegedly intimidated white voters at a Philadelphia polling place, a full report on the investigation into the matter is now posted on the House Judiciary Committee's website.

The report by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility should, once and for all, debunk claims that 1) the case was narrowed because of political pressure from Obama-administration leadership, and 2) there is a hostility in the division toward pursuing voting-rights cases on behalf of whites.

As the Washington Post's Adam Serwer explains, the report tells a different story from the one right-wing media have been stirring up about this matter. Specifically, "one in which the leadership of the civil rights division was frustrated by the conduct of the NBPP team in withholding exculpatory information in trying to seek a broader injunction against the New Black Panther Party. It also shows that there was never any political pressure from above to narrow the case to one defendant."

The bottom line is that OPR's report found no evidence at all that the race of the defendants or victims in this matter played a role in the decision to dismiss three defendants.

Oh, and before anyone gives the old, "Oh, really? So a DOJ office investigated the DOJ? We're supposed to believe that? Yeah, whatever" response, consider this: The OPR is "responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct involving Department attorneys that relate to the exercise of their authority to investigate, litigate or provide legal advice, as well as allegations of misconduct by law enforcement personnel when related to allegations of attorney misconduct within the jurisdiction of OPR." In other words, it exists entirely to look into things the DOJ may have done wrong.

If you understand what the agency does, actually read the report and are still convinced that the conclusions can't be trusted, we don't know what to tell you. Except that Donald Trump supposedly has a team of people running around Hawaii looking into whether the president was actually born in Kenya, so if you exhaust this issue and are looking for a new racially tinged conspiracy theory on which to focus, perhaps they could use a hand.

The rest of us are moving on.

Read the full report.

Read more at the Washington Post.