Anger, disappointment, pleasure: US reacts to Rittenhouse acquittal

Kyle Rittenhouse‘s acquittal for the fatal shootings of racial justice protesters last year has spurred powerful – and divergent – reactions from activists and lawmakers across the United States, highlighting the political symbolism of the trial and deep-seated divisions in the country.

Civil rights groups and Democratic activists decried the verdict on Friday as an example of white privilege and a miscarriage of justice, while Rittenhouse’s supporters, together with associates of former President Donald Trump, celebrated it as a victory.

Rittenhouse fatally shot two protesters and injured a 3rd throughout chaotic demonstrations in opposition to police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after a white officer shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, within the again, paralysing him.

But in a trial that captured the nation’s consideration since early November, Rittenhouse and his legal professionals argued that he acted in self-defence and solely used his AR-style rifle to guard himself from demonstrators who had been attacking him. Prosecutors had accused {the teenager} of scary the lethal violence on August 25, 2020.

“You know damn well that if Kyle Rittenhouse were Black he would have been found guilty in a heartbeat – or shot dead by cops on the scene,” former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro wrote on Twitter.

“If you need a stunning example of white privilege, please see Kyle Rittenhouse’s verdict,” wrote Andy Levin, a Democratic congressman.

President Joe Biden, who stated earlier on Friday that he didn’t watch the trial, recommended that he accepted the decision.

“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,” Biden stated in a press release.

The household of Anthony Huber, one of many protesters fatally shot by Rittenhouse, stated they had been heartbroken by the jury’s resolution.

“It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street,” the household stated in a press release, as reported by a number of US media retailers.

“We hope that decent people will join us in forcefully rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system.”

Kimberley Motley and Milo Schwab, attorneys for Gaige Grosskreutz, who was wounded within the taking pictures, and the property of Joseph Rosenbaum, who was fatally shot by Rittenhouse, vowed to proceed the push for accountability.

“That night in Kenosha, Gaige Grosskreutz, Anthony Huber, and many others acted heroically,” the legal professionals stated in a press release.

“They did not seek violence, but to end violence. What we need right now is justice, not more violence. While today’s verdict may mean justice delayed, it will not mean justice denied. We are committed to uncovering the truth of that night and holding those responsible to account.”

Cori Bush, a Democratic congresswoman and Black Lives Matter activist, stated she was “hurt”, “angry” and “heartbroken”.

“The verdict in the #KyleRittenhouse case is a travesty and fails to deliver justice on behalf of those who lost their lives as they peacefully assembled to protest against police brutality and violence,” the NAACP, a racial justice advocacy group, stated in a tweet.

Bernice King, racial justice activist and daughter of civil rights chief Martin Luther King, Jr, tweeted a photograph of an indication that reads, “The system isn’t broken. It was built this way.”

While racial justice advocates lamented the decision, distinguished right-wing figures rejoiced.

Rudy Giuliani, a Trump ally and the previous mayor of New York City, saluted the jurors and slammed the “mainstream media” for its protection of the case.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), an advocacy group for gun rights, tweeted the textual content of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which enshrines “the right … to keep and bear arms”.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, a staunch conservative, additionally cited the Second Amendment in celebrating the decision.

“Today is a great day for the Second Amendment and the right to self-defense,” she wrote on Twitter. “Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty on all counts! Glory to God!”

Congressman Paul Gosar, who was formally rebuked by the House of Representatives this week for tweeting a violent video about Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recommended that he’ll supply Rittenhouse an internship like his Republican colleague Matt Gaetz.

But again in Wisconsin, Democratic Governor Tony Evers known as for “healing” after the decision, urging any potential protesters to specific themselves “peacefully”.

“I’ve seen the pain and the frustration of so many, and we must remain steadfast in our commitment to ending violence in our communities, supporting victims and survivors as they heal from trauma, and rooting out the disparities that are so often inextricably linked to that violence and trauma,” he stated in a press release.