MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all charges after his trial for shooting three people, killing two of them in Kenosha, Wisconsin during unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last year.
The jury deliberated for roughly 26 hours, considering five felony counts: first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree intentional homicide, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
Rittenhouse’s case has become a flashpoint over discussions about guns, protests, white privilege, and racial justice. The then-17-year-old from rural Illinois traveled to Kenosha with an AR-15 style rifle on Aug. 25, 2020. Blake, a Black man, had been shot by a white police officer, and city residents were protesting police violence just months after George Floyd had been murdered in Minneapolis. Rittenhouse said he was in the city to protect property and provide medical aid.
That night, he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz. During the trial, Rittenhouse claimed self-defense.
“To say that we were relieved would be a gross mis-understatement,” said Rittenhouse’s defense attorney Mark Richards. He added that the teenager is now “on his way home” and “wants to get on with his life.”
In a statement, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said that “No verdict will be able to bring back the lives of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, or heal Gaige Grosskreutz’s injuries, just as no verdict can heal the wounds or trauma experienced by Jacob Blake and his family. No ruling today changes our reality in Wisconsin that we have work to do toward equity, accountability, and justice that communities across our state are demanding and deserve.”
He asked that anyone who chooses to assemble in response to the verdict do so peacefully and safely.
“We must have peace in Kenosha and our communities, and any efforts or actions aimed at sowing division are unwelcome in our state as they will only hinder that healing,” Evers added.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin said that the ruling “makes clear we have so much work to do to take on gun violence, and reform our broken criminal justice system so that it starts working equally and fairly for everyone.”
“The fact that some people are cheering a ruling that has allowed someone to take the law into his own hands and walk free from any accountability after shooting and killing two people is disrespectful to the lives that were lost, and I am deeply concerned that it will encourage more tragic gun violence from those like Kyle Rittenhouse who think they have a license to take the law into their own hands in a violent way,” she added.
When asked about Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal on all charges, President Biden said he did not watch the trial but that the U.S. jury system works and “we have to abide by it.” https://t.co/MvlM7DD8QF pic.twitter.com/KppRG4CHrx
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 19, 2021
President Joe Biden said on Friday afternoon that though he did not watch the trial he stands by what the jury concluded. “The jury system works and we have to abide by it,” he said.