Saturday 20th November 2021
Donald Trump celebrates the verdict
Acquittal for riflemen triggers protests
Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager, shot dead two people at an anti-racism demonstration. Self-defense, decided the jury and acquitted him. There are protests across the country against the verdict. While President Biden warns of violence, Donald Trump sends out his congratulations.
The acquittal of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot and killed two demonstrators during anti-racism protests in the US city of Kenosha, sparked protests in the United States. Protesters outside the court in Kenosha, Wisconsin, beat the drums on Friday shouting “Guilty, guilty, the whole system is guilty as hell”. There were also protests in Chicago and New York, and in Portland there were clashes between demonstrators and the police.
Rittenhouse shot two demonstrators and seriously injured a third during anti-racism protests in Kenosha. The jury acquitted the 17-year-olds at the time of the crime on Friday of the allegations of murder, manslaughter, attempted murder and endangering others.
After the verdict, US President Joe Biden warned of violence and called for calm. “The Kenosha ruling will make many Americans angry and concerned, including me, but we have to acknowledge the jury’s decision,” said Biden. He called on all demonstrators to peacefully express their views.
Star of the right scene
The process was politically charged as it was connected to the Black Lives Matter protests last year. Rittenhouse is considered a kind of figurehead in right-wing circles. There it was spread that Rittenhouse had gone to the protests to help as a paramedic or to protect shops from looting.
Numerous Republicans, including former US President Donald Trump, welcomed the verdict. “Congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse on being found innocent on all charges,” said Trump through his spokeswoman Liz Harrington. “And by the way, if that’s not self-defense, what then!” He added.
“If he had been black, he would have received life sentence”
Many African Americans, however, see the verdict as indicative of a judicial system that discriminates against minorities. “We have just seen a system built on white supremacy recognize the terrorist acts of a white supremacist,” wrote African American football player Colin Kaepernick on Twitter. “Ha, if the boy had been black, he would have had life,” said African American racing driver Bubba Wallace. Numerous opponents of guns also protested against the court’s decision.
The 18-year-old’s lawyers had argued in court that the youth had acted in self-defense because he had been attacked by demonstrators. Video recordings showed, among others, how a man hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard. A man injured by Rittenhouse admitted in court that he himself pointed a gun at the teenager. The public prosecutor stated against it that Rittenhouse had provoked the violence himself as a self-proclaimed “auxiliary policeman”. He should never have traveled to Kenosha with an assault rifle.