By Edelia “Dr. Jay” Carthan ,
Staff Writer ,
Mississippi Democratic U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson, 2nd District and the Civil Rights organization, the NAACP, are suing former President Donald J. Trump, Rudolph W. Giuliani and two far right groups for the January 6 Capitol riot.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday morning against former President Donald J. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph Q. Giuliani on behalf of Mississippi’s thirteen term Representative, Bennie Thompson.
The lawsuit claims that Trump and Giuliani violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, a statue that includes protections against violent conspiracies that interfered with Congress’s constitutional duties. The suit also names two far right groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers militia group.
The lawsuit accuses Trump, Giuliani and the groups of conspiring to incite a violent riot at the United States Capitol with the goal of preventing Congress from certifying the November 2020 Presidential election.
“Domestic terrorism in this country has always been rooted in white supremacy. Let’s be clear about that. The actions of the 30s, 40s, up to present, has been the basis of people who see certain citizens as legitimate and other citizens as not legitimate,” Derrick Johnson said in a televised interview.
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP said, “The Klan act was put in place to ensure Southern legislators would have the ability to exercise their sworn duties as congress persons without intimidation and fear of retaliation.”
“Thompson is the first of what we hope to be many members of Congress to join this lawsuit because no one has been held accountable. It has been our experience as African Americans if you allowed this type of behavior to go unchecked, it will only expand and spread,” Johnson explained.
Congressman Bennie Thompson, 72, chairman of Homeland Security, in an on air interview with MSNBC said, “In America, we settle our differences at the ballot box,” stressing how he believes the former president’s refusal to accept election results played a factor in the riot.
“If you disagree in America with the outcome of an election, you don’t riot, you don’t do anything other than see that individual at the next election. If the Trump administration’s philosophy of engagement like what happened January 6 becomes the standard, then every election you disagree with, you just go into the Capitol and tear it up just like you’re a third world country, Thompson added.
“So this, hopefully, at the end will mitigate any differences that we might have. In America, we settle our differences at the ballot box. We don’t have coups. We don’t have riots. We don’t have anything like what occurred Jan 6. So this is a day I looked for since the Senate did not do their jobs. We have to have something similar to order if our government is to remain strong,” declared.
In the Civil lawsuit, Thompson said he heard a gunshot, and was forced to wear a gas mask and hide on the floor of the House gallery for three hours while hearing threats of physical violence against any member who attempted to proceed to approve the Electoral College ballot count.
“Plaintiff Thompson heard a gunshot, the source of which, at the time, was unknown to him, although he later learned that it had killed a rioter who had forced her way into the Capitol lobby,” the suit says.
Thompson claims his health was put at an increased risk by not being able to social distance. The lawsuit notes that Thompson shared a confined space with two members of Congress who tested positive for COVID-19 after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
“During this entire time, Plaintiff Thompson reasonably feared for his physical safety,” the lawsuit says. “While trapped in the building, during the siege by the rioters the Defendants unleased on the Capitol, Plaintiff Thompson feared for his life and worried that he might never see his family again,” the suit says.
Thompson is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the Civil suit filed in the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. Thompson does not ask for a specific financial amount in the suit.
The Ku Klux Klan Act, passed by Congress on April 20, 1871 during Reconstruction, was “An Act to enforce the Provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other Purposes.”
“I am from the South. The Ku Klux Klan law was basically put on the books to protect Southerns and other people from the Klan who didn’t want this great country of ours to survive. But thanks goodness it did,” Rep. Thompson said.
Third of a series of increasingly stringent Enforcement Acts, the Ku Klux Klan Act was designed to eliminate violence and protect the Civil and political rights of four million freed slaves. The Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship and guaranteed due process and equal protection of the law to African Americans.
The suit is the first against Trump since the Senate acquitted him in his second impeachment trial Saturday, February 13. Trump will go down in history as a disgraced leader who escaped conviction after a trial that undeniably proved that he endangered his own vice president.
Thompson, serving his 13th term, is the longest-serving African-American elected official in the State of Mississippi and the lone Democrat in the Mississippi Congressional Delegation. Derrick Johnson is also from Mississippi.
Mississippi Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels, who also served as president of Alcorn, was the first African American to serve in the United States Congress. He was elected in 1871, the same year the Ku Klux Klan Act was passed by Congress.