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NAACP president says Rittenhouse trial was a "warning shot" that "vigilante justice" can be allowed

NAACP president on Rittenhouse trial
NAACP president on Rittenhouse trial 06:01

Washington — NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson said Kyle Rittenhouse's trial was a "warning shot" for Black communities that "vigilante justice" can be allowed in this country or "in particular communities." Rittenhouse was found not guilty on Friday on all charges in the August 2020 shootings of three men, including two who were killed, amid protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

"It's hard for African-Americans to reconcile what we witnessed in that trial. We have far too many individuals sitting in jail for crimes they didn't commit or overcharged for crimes that were committed," Johnson said during an interview with "Face the Nation" on Sunday. 

Johnson said the "current political environment" and former President Trump's administration "opened the door" for the case to become politicized. Johnson said the only resolution is to have "mature politicians willing to stand up, regardless of political affiliations, and address the question of mob violence, vigilantism, but more importantly, the underlying issue of race in this country."

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NAACP president Derrick Johnson on "Face the Nation," November 21, 2021. CBS News

The NAACP, along with several members of Congress, have brought a lawsuit against Mr. Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani alleging that they violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act by conspiring with extremist groups and inciting violence to disrupt Congress on January 6.

"When you witness what took place on January 6, it falls squarely on what the framers of the act intended: that members of Congress, Senate or House members should not be under any threat of intimidation, violence that would prevent them from carrying out their duty," Johnson said.

Johnson also addressed how members of the NAACP feel about the accomplishments of the current administration. A recent CBS News poll found that President Biden's approval rating among Black voters has dipped to 65% approval and and 35% disapproval. While acknowledging that there is more work to be done, Johnson said the president has delivered on many promises, but the key focus for his members is the protection of voting rights.

"A lot has been accomplished. There is still so much work to be done. But the number one issue is voting rights protections for African-Americans and for our democracy."

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