The American jury announced that a teenager was not guilty of killing two men during the civil strife in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. The case caused strong disagreements between the left and the right.
The jury handed down 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse on the fourth day of deliberations. He was acquitted of all five counts. After the jury made a verdict, Rittenhouse fell to the ground and then climbed into the arms of one of his lawyers.
The jurors considered five charges against Rittenhouse, the most serious of which was intentional homicide, punishable by life imprisonment. He was also charged with first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide, and first-degree reckless endangering public safety. The judge dismissed a gun charge shortly before the end of the trial.
The prosecutor described Rittenhouse as an armed “chaotic tourist” who went to Kenosha to “look for trouble.” His lawyer argued that he took self-defense actions during the Kenosha protests, portraying Rittenhouse as a civic-minded youth who protected property from mobs.
Conservative commentators and Republican lawmakers expressed support for Rittenhouse throughout the trial, while Democrats and progressives said that this case illustrates how the US criminal justice system failed to hold the white defendants accountable.
The reaction after the verdict was equally divided. Republican Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin stated that he believes that “justice has been done.”
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump stated that this shows that “there are serious cracks in our judicial system-from the serious prejudice often and unabashedly displayed by judges to witnessing the crimes of Rittenhouse. The indifference of the police officer who didn’t do it either.”
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, New York Democrat Gerald Nadler called the decision a “misjudgment” and “set a dangerous precedent” and called on federal prosecutors of the Department of Justice to review the case.
“Justice cannot tolerate armed men crossing state boundaries to find trouble while people are participating in protests protected by the First Amendment,” he said in a statement. tweet.
US President Joe Biden said in a statement: “Although the Kenosha sentence will make many Americans, including me, angry and worried, we must admit that the jury has spoken.” He urged the public to “peacefully, “Compliance with the rule of law” responded, stating that the White House has been in contact with the office of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to provide support.
As the number of supporters and opponents of Rittenhouse increased, tensions outside the court increased throughout the week. Evers had authorized 500 National Guards to stand by in this small city before the verdict.
Rittenhouse drove from Illinois to Kenosha in August 2020 after a police officer shot and killed a black Jacob Black, paralyzed him and sparked days of protests and riots, which became the United States A problem for the government. Presidential campaign trajectoryThe officer who shot Black, Rusten Sheskey, was not charged And crime.
Rittenhouse, he is numerous Armed men He went to Kenosha during the demonstration and testified during the trial that he was there to protect property and provide first aid, and carried an assault rifle to protect himself.
juvenile Shoot later Joseph Rosenbaum suffered from bipolar disorder and was discharged from the hospital that day. The defense and prosecution are entangled in the question of who the aggressor is. The crowd chased Rittenhouse, who shot and killed Anthony Huber and severely wounded the third man Geiger Grosskrutz.
A member of the black family Said Outside the court on Friday, “Somehow, those jurors… found out he was innocent, but we have two young people who will never walk in their door [houses] again”.
When he spoke, a supporter of Rittenhouse shouted: “He is not guilty!” Some drivers outside the court Yell Celebrating.
Judge Bruce Schroeder, who presided over the trial, was reviewed for refusing to enforce Rittenhouse’s bail conditions before the trial and for conflicts with the prosecutor during the proceedings.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers argued that his actions were in self-defense. Prosecutor Thomas Binger attacked this position, saying that Rittenhouse’s actions threatened others and made him an aggressor in the confrontation with Rosenbaum, weakening his defense. s right.
He said: “You cannot defend yourself against the dangers you pose.”
Binge added that the crowd reacted to Rittenhouse like an active shooter, because “others have the right to defend themselves.”
Defense lawyer Mark Richards said that Rittenhouse and the armed men around him have been invited to defend Kenosha’s business. Rittenhouse “never shot anyone before being chased and driven to desperation.”
Richards called it a “political case”, saying that the prosecutor asked Rittenhouse to blame him for last year’s riots, but to blame the “thug” instead of Rittenhouse. He called Rosenbaum a “lunatic”, “he wanted to make trouble that night, and then he started.”
After the verdict, Richards told reporters that Rittenhouse had a “great sense of relief.”Rittenhouse “has the same amount of business there [Kenosha] Just like any demonstrator or rioter,” he said.
Bingge said, “Although we are disappointed with the verdict, we must respect the verdict.”