Mr. Christopher Coates, former chief of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Voting Section, was subpoenaed by the Commission to testify on the New Black Panther Party litigation in December 2009. The Department prevented him from testifying and subsequently transferred him to the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Carolina. Mr. Coates has informed the Commission that he will appear at the hearing and read a statement, after which he will be available for Commissioners' questions. It is anticipated he will provide testimony about the New Black Panther Party litigation and the equal enforcement of the nation's civil rights laws by the Department.
The case involved members of the New Black Panther Party wearing paramilitary uniforms who positioned themselves at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling place during the 2008 election, one of them brandishing a night stick. Despite the entry of a default in its favor, the Department subsequently dismissed charges against all but one of the defendants and reduced the injunctive relief the Department had originally sought. (Source here, here and here)
DATE AND TIME: Friday, September 24, 2010; 9:30 a.m. EDT
PLACE: 624 9th St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20425
C-SPAN will televise the hearing live at 10am tomorrow.