Thursday, December 31, 2009

Justice Department moves Panther pursuer to S.C.

Here's an update on what happened to Christopher Coates, the veteran civil rights attorney who was removed as chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department:
The veteran Justice Department voting rights section chief who recommended going forward on a civil complaint against members of the New Black Panther Party after they disrupted a Pennsylvania polling place in last year's elections has been removed from his post and transferred to the U.S. attorney's office in South Carolina.

Justice Department officials confirmed Monday that Christopher Coates, who signed off on the complaint's filing in federal court in Philadelphia in January accusing the party and three of its members of civil rights violations, would begin his new assignment next month.

The complaint, which accused party members of intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place while wearing black berets, black combat boots, black dress shirts and black jackets with military-style markings, and wielding a nightstick, was later dismissed by Obama administration political appointees at the Justice Department.
Coates and another voting section attorney, J. Christian Adams were ordered not to cooperate with an investigation of the matter by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  Mr. Adam's lawyer, Jim Miles of Lexington, S.C., was surprised at the decision to transfer Coates. 
"As it has been explained to me, Mr. Coates was an attorney of great skill, and it is ironic he would be moved out of that position," Mr. Miles said. "But I assure you his quality of life will be substantially improved by moving to South Carolina out of the Washington Beltway area."
I'm confident that he's right about that.

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