Vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty on All Charges

Dimas Sanfiorenzo Dimas Sanfiorenzo is the Managing Editor for Okayplayer. He specializes…
Kyle Rottenhouse
Photo Credit: Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images

After a jury deliberated for three days, Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts.

Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who drove across state lines to a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin and shot three men, killing two of them, was found not guilty of all charges — including intentional homicide — on Friday afternoon (November 19th.) 

The jury deliberated for more than three days about the case. Rittenhouse, who was fighting five counts, claimed that he felt like his life was in danger and he had to protect himself, despite the fact he traveled to the site and was walking around with a AR-15-style rifle.

For weeks the trial has garnered national news, with the prosecution trying to make the case Rittenhouse acted as a teenage vigilante. While the defense made the claim Rittenhouse was trying to protect a neighborhood he cared about.

There are two things that stand out about this trial: One, the actions of the Judge, Bruce Schroeder, who has done things that some have labeled unorthodox while others flat out said were corrupt. Schroeder, who is the the longest-serving circuit judge in Wisconsin, has been tough on prosecutors, admonishing over a line of questioning and saying prosecutors could not call the people Rittenhouse shot “victims.” (He did allow the defense to call those at the scene “arsonists” and “looters if it was proven they were doing those actions.) There was also an incident where his phone rang “God Bless The U.S.A. ” by Lee Greenwood — a song used frequently at Donald Trump rallies – and weird moments where he said a racist asian joke and referred to a juror as “a Black.”

The other thing that stood out was the fact Rittenhouse, who is now 18, testified, which was seen as being odd and risky for the defense . During his testimony, Rittenhouse took the stage and started breaking down emotionally on the stand, an action that was not seen as sincere to a good portion of people on social media (including LeBron James.)

At the end, like everything else, the Rittenhouse trial was highly political. With those on the right looking at Rittenhouse as someone taking control of a situation where law and order was missing. And the left taking the stand that the system is, yet again, t0o lenient on white men with guns. 

Last summer was one of reckoning. There were appeals and protests all around the country. On August 25th, people gathered in the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin to protest the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake. Blake was shot seven times by Kenosha Police Department officers after intervening in an altercation involving two local women. Rittenhouse traveled 20 miles from his home in Antioch, Illinois to Kenosha. When Rittenhouse arrived there was unrest and he got an altercation. He shot at four people and killed two, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26. This was all caught on film. 

According to the New York Times, Justin Blake, uncle of James Blake, blasted the verdict and called local authorities racist. He also added: “We’re going to continue to fight,” he said, “and we’re going to continue to be peaceful. Let freedom ring.”

 

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