Kyle Rittenhouse (18) was charged with killing two protesters in Kenosha, USA last year. Now he has been acquitted on all counts.
Rittenhouse hiccuped and was about to break down during the reading.
Since George Floyd was killed by the police, the United States has been in a kind of racism uprising, which has meant that the trial against Kyle Rittenhouse gets extra attention. The 18-year-old from Illinois was charged with two murders in connection with the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August last year.
The riots came after the 29-year-old father of six, Jacob Blake, was shot by police.
Rittenhouse shot three men and killed two of them. Prosecutors charged him with the murder of Joseph Rosenbaum and the premeditated murder of Anthony Huber.
The 18-year-old claims that he acted in self-defense. During the trial, he explained that he heard people shouting “take him!” in the chaos that reigned in Kenosha that night.
“The person who attacked me threatened to kill me,” he said of the late Rosenbaum.
– I did not want to kill. I tried to stop the person who tried to kill me and steal my rifle, he told the jury and added that the shot was fired when Rosenbaum put his hand on Rittenhouse’s weapon, writes BBC.
The case is continuously updated …
Captured on video
According to Associated Press legal experts believe that the self-defense argument could hold according to Wisconsin’s laws, but that it was weakened by the fact that he showed up in another state with a semi-automatic rifle.
Video images show according to Associated Press that Rosenbaum ran after Rittenhouse through a parking lot and that he threw an object at the teenager.
Rittenhouse then hid behind a car and fired at Rosenbaum.
After shooting Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse ran down the street, still with a semi-automatic rifle in his hands. Huber ran towards him and hit after him with a skateboard and tried to grab the weapon before Rittenhouse fired.
Rittenhouse claimed in court that Huber also tried to take his weapon.
The third man who was shot and injured in the arm, Gaige Grosskreutz, had a gun as he approached Rittenhouse. He has explained that he considered Rittenhouse to be an “active shooter” when he took out the gun.
While the jury discussed the question of guilt, they asked Judge Bruce Schroeder for permission to see these videos several times. The jury was granted the request.
Outside the courtrooms, there was extra security staffing for fear of new riots following the jury’s decision. On Wednesday, the police asked a man outside the courtroom to lay down the semi-automatic rifle he was carrying.
The referee in focus
In recent weeks, there has probably been as much Judge Schroeder as has received attention in the United States.
On Monday, he was in the process of giving his jury instructions, after the prosecution and the defense had made their closing remarks, when he suddenly stopped in the middle of a sentence. Schroeder sat completely still for a while, before saying:
– I caught myself in the middle of a sentence and I do not like it.
Schroeder turned off the microphone and then discussed the instructions with the prosecution and the defense.
The judge’s instructions to the jury are obviously important and both parties to the case are involved in the final wording.
– You do not want to change this without both sides being allowed to provide input. There will be grounds for an appeal. It is therefore best to stop and talk about it, explains law professor Phyllis Kotey NBC Chicago.
Several controversial incidents
Earlier in the trial, the judge distinguished himself by scolding the prosecution twice, commenting on Asian food that was interpreted by some as racist and by asking that everyone in the court applauded Veterans Day, even though one of the defense witnesses was the only one. known military veteran in the hall.
Schroeder has also become criticised for not allowing the men killed by Rittenhouse to be described as “victims.”
At least twice, the trial was adjourned the judge’s phone rang. Then it emerged that his ringtone is “God Bless The USA” by country singer Lee Greenwood, a song that has often been played during Donald Trump’s public meetings.
Schroder is obviously aware that he has been noticed. On Monday, he commented that he would like “fewer people to have his e-mail address”.