BALTIMORE – United States Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, joined by Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Rev. William Barber addressed attendees at the NAACP’s 108th Annual Convention today in Baltimore, Maryland. The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization, released the following statement:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at the NAACP’s national convention Tuesday, July 25, 2017, in Baltimore,. Rosenstein told the audience that building public confidence in law enforcement “is one of our great challenges,” adding that while police have a special responsibility to follow the law, citizens have an obligation to respect the police. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

“The NAACP welcomes Deputy A.G. Rosenstein to our convention with the open hand of friendship,” said Interim President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “Unfortunately, under the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice has been working to erode the progress made in the past eight years and dismantle policies that benefitted the African-American community. Since President Trump declined to speak at this year’s convention, we are hopeful that Deputy A.G. Rosenstein conveys to the President and the Attorney General the concerns we have about the direction of the judicial system in this country.”

“We are gratified that Deputy A.G. Rosenstein was able to join us today ahead of our 2017 Resolutions meeting, and we always love a visit from longtime friends and allies like Jesse Jackson, Gov. McAuliffe, Kweisi Mfume and Rev. Barber,” said Leon Russell, chairman of the NAACP board of directors. “Though we haven’t agreed with the policies set by the head of this Justice Department, we appreciate the effort made by Deputy A.G. Rosenstein to come to our members and speak before them today.”