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WaPo Mishandles New Black Panther Facts

Krissah Thompson reported on the controversy surrounding the Obama Justice Department’s handling of the New Black Panther Party case for the July 15th Washington Post. Thompson writes:

The suit was focused on the party and two of its members, who stood out front of a polling place in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008 wearing military gear. They were captured on video and were accused of trying to discourage some people from voting. One carried a nightstick.

Conservatives complained last year when Justice officials narrowed the case, dropping the party and one of the men and focusing only the bearer of the stick. Department officials have said since then that they did not have sufficient evidence to pursue the case against the other defendants. Justice officials who served in the Bush administration have countered that the department had enough evidence to pursue the case more fully and called the decision to narrow it political.

There are two problems with this report. First, the video of the event is online. Any honest person can watch for themselves and see if Thompson’s use of the phrases “carried a nightstick” and “bearer of the stick” are accurate description’s of what transpired.

More importantly though, Thompson completely leaves out the fact the DOJ trial team in charge of the case had filed a notice of default judgment with the court after the defendants in the case failed to respond to the DOJs civil case.

Only after Obama political appointees intervened was the trial team forced to dismiss the case. This despite the fact that career lawyers in the appellate division reviewed the facts and determined their was plenty of evidence necessary to sustain the default judgment.

Journalists who want to get the facts right can read a full timeline of the case here.