Everything old is new again. The New Black Panthers were again in Philadelphia — with former defendant Jerry Jackson once again perched at the entrance to a poll. He engaged voters, some of whom were not so happy about it. But Philadelphia wasn’t the only American city graced by the presence of New Black Panthers today. They were also active in Houston.
Texas law prohibited the New Black Panthers from bursting into a polling place. They are not allowed within 100 feet of the polls for any reason except to vote or if they are credentialed poll watchers, which they weren’t. This illegal behavior was repeated at multiple polling places in Houston.
Quanell X is the Houston version of King Samir Shabazz, the chairman of the local New Black Panthers. His legal name is Quanell Abdul Farrakhan. Before that, it was Ralph Evans.
Mr. X led a squad of at least five New Black Panthers, including members in New Black Panther uniforms, into Houston polling places, including precinct 202, illegally.
They spoke with election officials inside this and other polling places. After these discussions, white poll watchers were either denied admittance or ejected. White election judges were also removed, under threat of calling the police for trumped-up complaints.
This man was a poll watcher fielded by the King Street Patriots to observe the proceedings at precinct 202:
What might have given the New Black Panther Party cause to think they could engage in this behavior? Why would they feel so emboldened?
Most Americans know the answer.
I’m sure we’ll hear all sorts of apologist spin once again to excuse the latest lawlessness. But wouldn’t it be refreshing if just once, an apologist would find the courage to state this behavior is wrong.
Instead, we’ll probably have some people hit their “small potatoes” macro, and cut-and-paste “no big deal” from their earlier work.
Perhaps some will conclude the patrols in Houston were insignificant. But I suspect most will sense that something has gone awry. Instead of being shamed from the Philadelphia events, the Panthers seem emboldened. Plain, simple lawlessness occurred. Our country stands for something better.
It will be harder to excuse the Panthers’ 2010 version of lawlessness. But I suspect they’ll try their best.