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National NAACP president issues cease and desist to Atlanta branch president after taking sides against Kasim Reed

The National NAACP president is directing the Atlanta chapter president not to comment on local issues after he took sides against Kasim Reed in the mayoral race.

ATLANTA — The National NAACP is firing back at the Atlanta branch after its president warned voters not to put Kasim Reed back in office. 

Last week, Atlanta's NAACP took sides, accusing Reed, his policies, and programs of being anti-Black during his first two terms as mayor.

Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose wrote and posted a seven-point attack on Reed's record as mayor on the chapter's Facebook page. 

Now, the national sector of the organization has responded, submitting a cease and desist to Rose. NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson also issued a letter to Rose, directing him to stop any endorsement or condemnation of political candidates.

"The recent remarks of Atlanta NAACP Branch President, Richard Rose, regarding the Atlanta Mayoral race, are unacceptable and will be addressed internally," Johnson wrote. 

Reed, a lifetime member of the NAACP, lashed back on Thursday, accusing the branch president of politicizing the NAACP and contributing money to two other candidates for mayor. In a Monday statement, he claimed Roses' allegations were "false and wholly without merit."

"Our 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," Reed wrote in a statement.

A former Georgia NAACP president has now stepped in on the matter, too. James “Major” Woodall tweeted on Monday, stating it's "disappointing" the organization would tell leaders not to use their voice to speak on local issues. 

"@NaacpAtlanta being rebuked for their criticism of former Mayor Kasim Reed in this moment is quite telling. There was no problem in publicly rebuking Donald Trump though," Woodall wrote.

The cease and desist letter asserts that two articles of the bylaws for the organization states that all political action "shall be non-partisan" and "not endorse candidates" for public office.

Last year, Johnson made a statement regarding political approval after now-President Joe Biden inaccurately said the NAACP endorsed him.

“We want to clarify that the NAACP is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates for political office at any level. Persons affiliated with the NAACP at the national, state, and local levels are free to make candidate endorsements in a personal capacity, but they do not reflect support by the NAACP as an organization,” Johnson said in a 2020 interview on "The Breakfast Club."

According to the letter, Rose violated both of those NAACP bylaws. The letter insists Rose stop making comments regarding Reed and his efforts toward reelection, and retract his statements about the mayoral candidate.

"If you fail to comply, you may be subjected to suspension, expulsion or other disciplinary action" the letter reads.