The young American Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people with a rifle and wounded a third during an anti-racist protest in August 2020 in the state of Wisconsin, was acquitted this Friday in a highly politicized case nationwide for the firearms debate and the Black Lives Matter movement.
After three and a half days of deliberation, the jury found Rittenhouse not guilty of the five counts The charges against him included intentional murder in the first degree and attempted murder in the first degree.
Rittenhouse, who was facing a possible conviction of 60 years in jail, He dropped into his chair between sobs and hugged his defense attorney after hearing the verdict at the Kenosha County (Wisconsin) Circuit Court headquarters.
His attorney, Mark Richards, later told reporters outside the courthouse that his client was “relieved.”
Kyle Rittenhouse alleges self-defense
Throughout the two-week trial, the events that occurred on the night of August 25, 2020 in Kenosha, when Rittenhouse killed two protesters and wounded a third, amid clashes between groups of armed civilians and protesters of the movement “Black Lives Matter” (Black lives matter).
That day, the third day of altercations in Kenosha, the then 17-year-old arrived from Illinois with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and medical equipment.
The city was being the scene of protests and riots against police brutality with blacks after a police officer shot the African-American in the back three days earlier Jacob Blake, who was left paraplegic.
At some points the peaceful demonstrations degenerated into altercations and in this situation, groups of citizens, such as Rittenhouse, they took up their guns to protect shops and other establishments.
During the judicial process, the young man testified to maintain, as his defense has alleged, that he acted in self-defense when he opened fire that night.
Videos of that day and the defendant’s own testimony indicate that Rittenhouse was persecuted by one of his victims, Joseph Rosenbaum, let iba unarmed, to a vehicle parking lot.
According to the young man’s words during the trial, Rosenbaum threw a bag and a chain at him, at which point Rittenhouse heard a person who was with his pursuer saying “catch him, kill him.”
At that moment, and according to Rittenhouse’s account, the teenager, who was running, heard a shot behind him, while Rosenbaum was chasing him.
“As I turned around, Mr. Rosembaum was coming towards me with his hands outstretched, I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun,” said the defendant, who admitted that he fired four shots at the victim.
The Prosecutor’s Office tried to show that Rittenhouse’s actions constituted a homicide and has characterized the young man as a “teenage vigilante” who traveled from Illinois to Kenosha to join other gunmen who saw themselves as guardians of local businesses.
This case has raised great divisions in American society and has instigated a national debate about citizens taking justice into their own hands, the right to bear arms, and the definition of self-defense.
Symbol of sympathy to Donald Trump
Following the event, Rittenhouse has become a symbol for trumpism, as many see him as a good young man who came to Kenosha to pacify the area and provide medical aid, in response to racial protests, which sometimes led to altercations, in several American cities in 2020.
And even the then president Donald Trump once defended Rittenhouse, a sympathizer of the now ex-president, and refused to meet with the family of the African American Blake.
Following the exculpatory verdict, there are fears that new riots will break out in Kenosha, where Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers activated 500 members of the National Guard – a reserve corps – this week in case of altercations.
From the White House, the president Joe Biden he said he had heard the verdict and supported “what the jury has to say.”
“The jury system works,” Biden said, in response to questions from reporters.