New Black Panther founder now the target of complaints

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM

DALLAS - He's a figure so controversial, the Dallas County Commission postponed a vote Tuesday to re-appoint him to a committee.

In fact, the county may be getting rid of the committee all together, with one top official calling it "time consuming" and "unproductive."
 
Aaron McCarthy, also known as Aaron Michaels, is the founding member of the "New Black Panther Party," a group the Anti-Defamation League calls "racist" and "anti-Semitic."

In May of 1996, McCarthy was the leader of a violent protest at a DISD Board meeting and was arrested along with two fellow Panthers.

Today, McCarthy was at Dallas County Commissioners Court, passively greeting well-wishers, in stark contrast to his role nearly 16 years ago. And this time he was the one being protested.

"I think we in Dallas County can be better represented by someone who is way less controversial," said Dallas County resident Beth Biesel.

McCarthy is Commissioner John Wiley Price's appointee to the Dallas County Homeland Security Advisory Committee. He was about to be re-appointed when word spread of his controversial past.

McCarthy is not discussing his role with the New Black Panthers or with the advisory committee. Commissioner Price, however, contends that McCarthy is well qualified to serve as a volunteer emergency operations adviser.

"If you look at all of the appointees, he has the best credentials of anyone," Price said.

But the controversy over McCarthy’s past and present appears to be short lived.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins pulled the re-appointment of McCarthy to the committee off the agenda and he now questions the advisory group's role. He says information he has been given leads him to believe that the advisory panel’s work is redundant and unnecessary.

"I recommended this committee be retooled to actually do something," Jenkins said.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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