The Justice Department didn’t let politics or race affect the department’s handling of the controversial voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party, according to an Office of Professional Responsibility investigation, Talking Points Memo reported.
DOJ dismissed most charges against members of the anti-white fringe group who wore military clothing as they stood outside a polling place in a black Philadelphia neighborhood in November 2008. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights investigated DOJ’s decision and reported that the department did not fully cooperate with the probe. The commission also said that DOJ did not thoroughly address “serious accusations” made by former DOJ staffer J. Christian Adams and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Coates, the former chief of the Civil Rights Division Voting Section, about hostility in the DOJ to prosecuting voting rights cases against minorities. OPR began its investigation in the summer of 2009.
In the new letter, which OPR head Robin C. Ashton wrote to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the office concluded that DOJ attorneys “did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment, but rather acted appropriately, in the exercise of their supervisory duties in connection with the dismissal of the three defendants in the NBPP case.”
Ashton continued that OPR “found no evidence that the decision to dismiss the case against three of the four defendants was predicated on political considerations” and there was “no evidence to support allegations (which were raised during the course of our investigation) that the decision makers, either in bringing or dismissing the claims, were influenced by the race of the defendants, or any considerations other than an assessment of the evidence and the applicable law.”
TPM has the full letter here.