National NAACP slams Atlanta chapter’s ‘rare repudiation’ of Kasim Reed

Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose speaks during the United We Shall Stand Rally in Piedmont Park, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, in Atlanta. The event was sponsored by the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Southern Poverty Law Center and activist groups Alliance for Black Lives and Georgia Alliance for Social Justice. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
Caption
Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose speaks during the United We Shall Stand Rally in Piedmont Park, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, in Atlanta. The event was sponsored by the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Southern Poverty Law Center and activist groups Alliance for Black Lives and Georgia Alliance for Social Justice. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

The NAACP’s national leadership has told the Atlanta branch of the organization to “immediately cease-and-desist from making remarks repudiating Atlanta mayoral candidate Kasim Reed.”

Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose strongly criticized the former mayor on behalf of the chapter in an unprecedented statement last week.

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Rose criticized Reed’s handling of affordable housing, the lack of property taxes from Mercedes Benz stadium, and the city’s role in the land dispute concerning Clark Atlanta University and Morris Brown College. Rose also criticized Reed over the federal corruption probe at Atlanta City Hall, among other things. Reed’s personal attorneys told the AJC in a written statement that they were told by federal prosecutors that Reed is not under investigation.

But NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson admonished Rose’s actions.

“By issuing a public partisan statement opposing Mr. Reed’s candidacy and by essentially endorsing other candidates, you clearly violated Article II, Section 2 of the Bylaws for Units of the NAACP. You are engaging in conduct inimical to the best interest of the Association. Your conduct is not in accord with the NAACP’s principles, aims and purposes,” according a letter from Janette McCarthy Wallace, the NAACP’s general counsel.

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Caption
Former mayor Kasim Reed accepts an endorsement from the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 134 at Reed's campaign headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Former mayor Kasim Reed accepts an endorsement from the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 134 at Reed's campaign headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.  (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Former mayor Kasim Reed accepts an endorsement from the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 134 at Reed's campaign headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

The letter continued, stating the National NAACP demands that Rose retract his statements against Reed, and to cease-and-desist from endorsing political candidates or political parties. The national branch threatened to suspend or expel Rose if he failed to comply.

Rose declined to comment on the matter on Monday afternoon.

The Rev. James Woodall, former president of the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, said on Twitter that it’s “disappointing” to see the national NAACP telling “any leader to not use their voice to speak about local issues.” He called the local branch’s rebuke of Reed “quite telling.”

Woodall said “there was no problem in publicly rebuking Donald Trump though.” He also said it was “quite hypocritical” that the national NAACP didn’t condemn the New York NAACP’s endorsement of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul for next year’s gubernatorial election.

Reed said in a statement that he’s grateful for the NAACP’s response to Rose’s actions. Reed called Rose’s statements false and said his campaign is being attacked “because we sought and received the support of the women and men of the Atlanta Police Department at a time when crime and violence is devastating our city.”

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“People are sick when they move to a point where they can say anything about me,” Reed said at a press conference Monday.

Several people and groups endorsed Reed’s candidacy, including former Atlanta mayor and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young. Reed pointed out that Rose contributed to the mayoral campaign for City Councilman Andre Dickens, and Reed said the collaboration among his opposition is similar to “a cabal or a gang.”

It’s unclear what the repudiation means for the race. Reed is in a statistical tie with City Council President Felicia Moore and 41% of voters are still undecided, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution polls.

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