Tuesday, November 23, 2021
“It was about self-defense”
Kenosha Sagittarius speaks after acquittal
The American Rittenhouse’s acquittal was followed by angry protests. The now 18-year-old shot two people in an anti-racism demonstration. In an interview he now denies the accusation of racism – and describes himself as a supporter of “Black Lives Matter”.
During anti-racism protests in the US state of Wisconsin, the then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot two demonstrators with an assault rifle and seriously injured a third. Back then, in August 2020, he drove to the city of Kenosha to protect stores from looting, according to his own account. The protests of the movement “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) were directed against police violence and racism – a white police officer had previously shot the African American Jacob Blake in the back.
More than a year later, a jury in Kenosha acquitted Rittenhouse, now 18, of allegations of manslaughter, attempted murder and endangering others last week. This led to angry demonstrations in several US cities.
In an interview with the broadcaster Fox News, Rittenhouse now commented on the controversial verdict. He denied that the incidents had anything to do with racism and repeated the argument of his main defender, which the jury had also followed: “It was about the right to self-defense.”
“I am not a racist person. I support the BLM movement and the peaceful demonstrations,” said Rittenhouse on the program “Tucker Carlson Tonight”. He supported peaceful protests and denounced an “unfair prosecution.”
Figurehead of the right
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.
After the verdict, US President Joe Biden warned against 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. Many African Americans viewed the verdict as indicative of a judicial system that discriminated against minorities.
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. One of the video recordings showed a man hitting 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.