Rittenhouse was acquitted of all five charges against him. Upon hearing the verdict, the 18-year-old collapsed into a chair, struggling to hold back tears.
The trial of the defendant, which had been going on for over a week, was all the time one of the main topics in the American media and it caused great emotions. The case concerned the Kenosha riots last year in response to the shooting of a black man by the police Jacob Blake, not long after the murder George Floyd.
Rittenhouse, then 17, who lives in the neighboring state of Illinois, went to the site with the AR-15 riflewanting – as he explained – to defend local businesses against rioters. The video material presented during the trial showed that when he aimed the rifle at a group of protesters, they started chasing him. The moment one of them, Joseph Rosenbaum, was close, Rittenhouse fired three shots, killing him. In subsequent clashes, he killed another man and wounded another.
The teenager’s defense attorneys – and he himself, as a witness – argued that he was acting in self-defense, fearing that the attackers would take his gun and kill him. Prosecutors argued that if someone initiates tensions by pointing a gun at another, unarmed person, he has no right to plead self-defense.
The Rittenhouse trial was closely followed by American television and was highly emotional. Liberal commentators and politicians accused the judge conducting the trial of partiality and demanded the sentencing of the teenager, while some right-wing politicians praised his attitude. Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries called to “lock up Rittenhouse and throw away the key,” and Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz publicly offered him an internship in his office.
Supporters of both sides also demonstrated in the Kenosha court in recent days. On Wednesday, there were clashes and detention of two people.
The court then strengthened its security measures.
The vice president of the United States referred to the jury’s decision Kamala Harriswhich stated that “the verdict speaks for itself”. – I have spent most of my career trying to make our justice system more equitable. It is clear there is much more to be done, Harris admitted.
The former president of the United States also commented on the verdict Donald Trumpwho on Friday congratulated Kyle on his acquittal, pointing to the importance of self-defense in the US legal system.