By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)– A crowd gathered Saturday in downtown Minneapolis in response to the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

A jury acquitted Rittenhouse Friday on all charges after the teen shot and killed two people involved in protests over a police-involved shooting.

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Trahern Crews, a lead organizer with Black Lives Matter Minnesota, suspected Rittenhouse might be acquitted once the misdemeanor gun possession charge was thrown out.

Crews felt the judge favored Rittenhouse for much of the trial.

“Black kids here in Minnesota never get treated like that,” he said.

The protesters called for justice for Rittenhouse’s victims.

“I don’t give a damn what color they were. They deserve to be here,” said Kim Handy-Jones, whose son, Cordale Handy, was killed in a confrontation with St. Paul police in 2017.

People at the rally were also there to call for the abolition of white supremacy, which they feel was on display with the Rittenhouse verdict.

“It’s about race, and it’s about you getting uncomfortable, and it’s about us making this better,” said Toussaint Morrison, a protester.

The protesters see the verdict as emblematic of a larger problem. A woman talked about how she felt the legal system is rigged against people of color.

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Some of the speakers during the protest pointed out the difference in incarceration rates between Black people and white people in the U.S.

“We just want equal protection under the law in the courts,” Crews said.

Black people in the crowd were also encouraged to get permits to carry a firearm.

“We can’t just hope our words and our chants protect us,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, a local activist.

When asked his thoughts on carrying, Crews said he’s received a lot of death threats the last several years.

“I don’t want to conceal and carry, but we’re getting to the point where it’s very important that Black people have to protect themselves,” he said.

Some protesters expressed disillusionment with politicians in both parties, including President Joe Biden.

They urged people Saturday to pay attention to local elections and vote for candidates who represent their beliefs.

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David Schuman