A member of the New Black Panther Party on Tuesday greeted voters without incident outside the same Philadelphia polling station where he and another individual in the anti-white fringe group stood wearing military clothing two years ago, causing a controversy over a voter intimidation case that was later dismissed, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Jerry Jackson wore a Black Panther button and a necklace with a black-and-green pendant as he gave out Democratic ballots to voters, the newspaper said. He also told a lady to “have a nice day,” according to the Inquirer.
“There hasn’t been any static and turnout has been great,” Judge of Elections Lugina Robinson told the newspaper. “He’s not bothering anybody.”
Jackson declined comment to the newspaper.
“He seems to be just looking at people and that’s not against the law,” Sean Scully, deputy policy director at the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan political watchdog organization in Philadelphia, told the Inquirer.
No voter intimidation complaints were filed on Tuesday regarding Jackson.
The Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder dismissed most of the charges in the case against the New Black Panther Party members in May 2009, after the defendants failed to contest the lawsuit filed in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration. Republicans have used the case to paint the Barack Obama administration as hostile to race-neutral enforcement of civil rights laws. The Obama DOJ said the case was dismissed because it was weak.
The conservative-led U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is investigating the decisions made by the DOJ in the case. The panel is scheduled to vote Friday on a draft report that blasts the DOJ’s handling of the case.
The commission’s $173,653 investigation has received praise from Republicans, who have expressed concern about the DOJ’s decisions in the case.