Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, was acquitted of five felony charges on November 19th at Kenosha County Court, Wisconsin after killing 2 men in the summer of 2020.
Rittenhouse patrolled the streets of Kenosha during the Black Lives Matter protests and killed Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, as well as wounding one more person and endangering others. He was cleared of two first-degree homicide charges, attempted homicide, and reckless endangerment, due to his claim that “self-defence is not illegal”.
The verdict has caused uproar throughout the United States, with the family of the victims expressing their disappointment. Huber’s family said the result of the trial “sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town [and] incite violence”, and the victim’s girlfriend said, “we know that this system is a failure”. The prosecutors have encouraged others to speak of their frustration at the jury albeit “in a civil and peaceful manner”. Many opposers of the decision have said that self-defence is not valid in a situation in which Kyle Rittenhouse created the danger that led to the murders.
The Wisconsin gun laws regulate the sales of guns, but clearly state you must be at least 21 years old to own one, as well as having proof of gun training. Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the incident.
After Derek Chauvin, the officer that murdered George Floyd, which ignited the protests in 2020, being found guilty of all charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison, Rittenhouse’s trial comes as a huge detriment to the progress made in the BLM Movement over the past year and a half. Many have taken to social media to communicate their frustration over the situation.