Kyle Rittenhouse: Calm after US teenager is cleared of murder

Image source, Reuters
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Portland’s rioters broke windows and threatened the destruction of the Justice Center.

Following the release of two teenagers who were shot to death during unrest racial last year in America, calm has been called for.

Kyle Rittenhouse (age 18), claimed that he was acting in self defense when he shot two men in Wisconsin and injures a third.

Protests erupted in several cities following Friday’s verdict, which came after a highly publicized trial that split the US.

However, politicians like President Joe Biden and the families of victims have called for restraint.

Lawyers for Gaige Grosskreutz’s family said that they need justice and not violence right now.

Reporters outside of the White House were told by Mr Biden that he urged everyone to voice their opinions peacefully and in accordance with the law.

Police in Portland declared a riot on Friday night despite calls for calm. Around 200 people broke windows and threw items.

Although there were protests in New York City and Chicago as well, they were not nearly as significant than previous civil unrest in the US.

  • ANALYSISThis is why the Kyle Rittenhouse case has divided the US
  • PROFILE: What is the US Teen Cleared of Protest Killings?
  • BACKGROUND: What are the best times to shoot for self-defence

In August 2020, Mr Rittenhouse, a self-defence officer, fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum (36), and Anthony Huber (26). He also injured Mr Grosskreutz (28) in Kenosha.

He shot both the teenage boy and his accomplices, all of whom are white. This incident occurred amid violent protests about the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black male, by a white officer.

Jacob Blake’s uncle was at the courthouse when Rittenhouse was released.

We’ll continue fighting and continue to live peacefully. Justin Blake declared, “Let freedom ring.”

His family stated that Mr Huber’s verdict sends “the unacceptable message” that armied civilians are able to show up anywhere and incite violence. Then they can use the threat they create to justify killing people on the streets.

A spokesman for Rittenhouse’s family said that Mr Rittenhouse was now at an undisclosed place.

The two men stated that “In this situation, there is no winner. Two people lost their lives. This doesn’t lose on us.”

Une Nation Divided

Both sides have reacted strongly to the verdict.

Derrick Johnson (the president of NAACP’s civil rights organization) tweeted that this verdict was “a reminder of how treacherous white supremacy, privilege, and play in our justice system.”

Reverend Al Sharpton is a well-known civil rights activist who said that this “outrageous, dangerous” verdict would inspire vigilantes using violence to assert power.

He said that “these continue to be dark times for black people murdered at the hands people who believe our lives don’t matter”, in a statement.

Concerns are raised about future legal precedents that the verdict might set.

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom said: “America today, you can break law, have weapons designed for a military and shoot and kill people and get away.”

Joe Biden, President of the United States said that while he felt “angry” and “concerned” about the verdict, he believes “the jury has spoken”.

Conservatives say Mr Rittenhouse was defending himself and asserted his rights to bear arms.

A statement sent to Trump’s supporters by the former president congratulated him. “If self-defence isn’t that, then nothing is!” He said it.

A number of Republican legislators stated that they are open to offering Mr Rittenhouse an internship in Congress.

Madison Cawthorn (North Carolina representative), was one of those who posted the following Instagram message: “You’ve got a right of defense, to be armed and dangerous, and you have a moral right.”

Tucker Carlson, right-wing Fox News host, posted the clip following the verdict. It will be shown on Monday.

In a video that appears to be filmed just moments after the verdict, Mr Rittenhouse states: “The jury reached a correct verdict – self-defence was not illegal.”

He talks also about his “scary nightmares” of what could have been if he was “seriously hurt, injured or killed”.


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