I want to tell you about the Black Panther story from the beginning, because something is not right.
On Election Day in 2008, the New Black Panther Party had a national effort to send out its members to polling locations. They called the election an "emergency" situation. Two of those members were caught on tape at a polling location in Philadelphia, in full paramilitary uniform and reportedly brandishing a baton.
One of the Panthers, King Samir Shabazz, was reportedly harassing and intimidating voters and poll workers. This was supposed to be an open and shut case. Former President Bush starts the prosecution before the end of his term, but then President Obama comes in and decides suddenly, in May of 2009, to drop the case. A former Department of Justice official ends up resigning in protest over the case and testifies about it.
Bartel Bull, a civil rights lawyer in the 1960s and the former campaign manager for Robert Kennedy, said it was the "most blatant form of voter intimidation" he had ever seen. That's saying something — and this isn't some right-wing Republican shill. Bull also said the Black Panthers intimidated voters and tried to "interfere with the work of other poll observers," telling one that, "you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."
Then this video of one of the accused, King Samir Shabazz was uncovered:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMIR SHABAZZ: I hate white people — all of them. Every last iota of a cracker — I hate him. Because we're still in this condition.
We didn't come out here to play today. There's too much serious business going on in the black community to be out here sliding through South Street with white, dirty, cracker whore (expletive) on our arms.
You want freedom? You're going to have to kill some crackers. You're going to have to kill some of their babies. Let us get our act together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
The Obama Justice Department still maintains the case isn't supported by the facts. This racist I just showed you got less than a slap on the wrist. He is not allowed to go to any Philadelphia polling locations... until 2012. Gee, what's going on that year? Oh, and he can still go to polling locations in other towns.
New Black Panther leader Malik Shabazz mocked the outcome:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALIK SHABAZZ, NEW BLACK PANTHER PARTY: King Samir can't go back to polling place until 2012 and I don't think he cares if he goes back to a polling place until 2012.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Despite all this, there is no interest in the case — a case that shouldn't have been dropped in the first place. Let's look now at the priorities of this president:
• The president took 93 days to respond to McChrystal's Afghanistan report
• It took the president 57 days to meet with BP's CEO
• It took two weeks for the president to make a formal statement on the Christmas Day bomber
• 477 days since undercover ACORN tapes surfaced, no official investigation
• It was 47 days before the White House commented on our Van Jones immigration
Clearly, no rush with any of those decisions. So, what does the president care about?
• After the Professor Gates incident, Obama told the nation two days later — admittedly without the facts — that the police "acted stupidly"
• Arizona has been begging for border reinforcements for 454 days; it took the Obama administration 78 days to file their lawsuit
• The Obama administration took 37 days to order a stop to drilling in the Gulf; after the court overturned the moratorium, it took them eight hours to re-file
Then you have the police shooting case in Oakland. 23-year-old Oscar Grant was being arrested and allegedly resisting when the officer says he tried to shoot him with his Taser. He claims he accidentally pulled his real gun by mistake. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
Protests ensued and it didn't take long before looting and rioting broke out. Over 80 were arrested as windows were smashed, cars were burned and so on. Now, I'm sure there were plenty of legitimately angry, regular citizens there. But there were also lots of signs and groups there. Remember, this is San Francisco — home of Van Jones' STORM and the Ella Baker Center and all sorts of communist groups. They spread the word leading up to the verdict.
Anarchist News wrote: "We are anarchists who live in the Bay. We are outraged by the murder of Oscar Grant, and we are pissed at continuing police violence and disregard of communities' health and safety. We're writing this letter to all the people who are going be in the streets the day of Mehserle's verdict."
The latest edition of Revolutionary Communist Party USA read: "The Whole Damn System is Guilty! We demand Justice for Oscar Grant"
Revolution Books writes: "There are plans for a convergence in downtown Oakland at 14th and Broadway at 6 p.m. on the day the verdict is announced. People need to be there and elsewhere to respond politically to the verdict. And the L.A. Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant is calling on people to gather at the courthouse."
And The Ella Baker Center: "There has been a city-wide call for folks to come out on the evening of the verdict to 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland for a rally, speak out and open-mic. Members of the Ella Baker Center team will be out in the streets that evening to stand with the community as we call for justice."
We're dealing with radicals here and these people mean what they say. These aren't empty words. When they say revolution, they mean revolution.
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And how long did it take the Department of Justice to respond to Mehserle verdict? Just two hours:
"The Justice Department has been closely monitoring the state's investigation and prosecution. The Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the FBI have an open investigation into the fatal shooting and, at the conclusion of the state prosecution, will conduct an independent review of the facts and circumstances to determine whether the evidence warrants federal prosecution."
The president can say whatever he wants, but the actions of this administration — especially when it comes to radicals — speak volumes.
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