Pro-Trump protesters inside the US Capitol building
Pro-Trump protesters inside the US Capitol building Reuters/Michael Nigro/Sipa USA

The NAACP and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) on Tuesday sued former US President Donald Trump in connection with the January 6 riots on the US Capitol, The Hill reports.

The lawsuit alleges that Trump incited the Capitol riot in violation of a Reconstruction Era law commonly referred to as the Ku Klux Klan Act.

The civil complaint, filed in the federal District Court of Washington, D.C., also names former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.

“You cannot move forward if you don't address the illegality of what took place, the treasonous act,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson told The Hill.

“If you try to move forward without holding people accountable, you only set yourself up [for] future activity that could possibly be successful in toppling our democracy. For African Americans, we see a long history of people not being held accountable ... and if we don't hold people accountable, there becomes this entitlement that it's OK to cause harm and violate the law,” he added.

Johnson said that the insurrection of the Capitol was steeped in white supremacy, something that can’t be allowed to fester.

Thompson echoed the sentiment on Tuesday afternoon in an interview with MSNBC.

“What I saw on Jan. 6 is not what people who have fought and died for down through the years,” said Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “We saw the Capitol of the United States of America overrun by riotous individuals who called themselves patriots. ... This is not America, this is not our democracy, and we can't let this kind of riotous activity go on in any form."

Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, cited the former President's recent acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial in a statement responding to the lawsuit.

“President Trump has been acquitted in the Democrats’ latest Impeachment Witch Hunt, and the facts are irrefutable. President Trump did not plan, produce or organize the Jan. 6th rally on the Ellipse. President Trump did not incite or conspire to incite any violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6th. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser must answer questions as to why they rejected additional security and National Guard assistance in the run-up to Jan. 6th,” said Miller.

Miller also said that Giuliani, who has been Trump's personal lawyer, "is not currently representing President Trump in any legal matters.”

The lawsuit comes three days after the Senate acquitted Trump of charges of “inciting insurrection” leading to the January 6 riots. While the vote was 57-43 in favor of conviction, it was 10 shy of the supermajority needed.

Following the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted Senate Republicans as cowards.

"What we saw in that Senate today was a cowardly group of Republicans," Pelosi said of the majority of the Senate Republicans who found Trump "not guilty" of incitement of insurrection.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, said that “this sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile” and called for healing.

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