Saturday, November 27

The 18-year-old shot three men. Now the verdict is ready.

Kyle Rittenhouse (18) was charged with killing two men during a demonstration against police violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Now he is acquitted on all counts.

18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse during the Kenosha trial. He was charged with killing two men and injuring a third.

The trial against Rittenhouse started earlier this month.

The background is the fateful evening in August last year. A then 17-year-old Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum (36), then Anthony Huber (26), before Gaige Grosskreutz (27) was shot and wounded.

The shots were fired during a demonstration against police violence against blacks, triggered by the George Floyd case, among other things.

Rittenhouse claimed in court that he was attacked while guarding stores, and that he shot in self-defense.

President Donald Trump hinted at the same thing when he commented on the incident, which took place in August 2020.

Fear of riots

The trial against Rittenhouse has received enormous attention in the United States.

There are now fears that the acquittal could trigger riots.

Rittenhouse did not plead guilty, saying he shot in self-defense. The incident took place during the protests in the small town of Kenosha in August 2020.

Risked life in prison

Rittenhouse would face life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.

The jury reached its verdict after considering the case for four days.

Means for calm

The trial has sparked a heated debate in the United States, and the fronts go along well-known political divides.

The governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, has asked people to remain calm after the ruling became known. He also says that 500 members of the National Guard are ready to be deployed in Kenosha if needed.

Vice Governor Mandela Barnes, a black and Democratic candidate for the Senate, condemned the ruling.

– In recent weeks, many have feared this outcome of the case. It is true that we should consider everyone innocent until they are convicted, but that principle does not always benefit everyone. We have seen so many colored youths being killed, only to be brought to justice after their deaths. In the case against Rittenhouse, innocence was almost demanded by the judge, she says.

Politicians on the right, for their part, support the ruling and criticize the fact that Rittenhouse was indicted at all.

– All of us who knew about what happened in Kenosha last year assumed that this would be the ruling. Fortunately, the jury agreed with us, tweeted Republican Scott Walker, former governor of Wisconsin.

Killed two

Rittenhouse was 17 years old when he went to Kenosha, after shops in the city had been looted and burned down after the police shot and killed African-American Jacob Blake.

The teenager has explained that he joined other armed residents to protect property and provide medical assistance. He carried a weapon that the prosecution believed was illegally acquired, as Rittenhouse was not of legal age.

A drone video captured the events during the shooting on film. Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum (36) and Antony Huber (26), and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, who is now 28 years old.

The prosecution drew a picture of a young man who looked for trouble that night, and was himself responsible for creating dangerous situations.

– I defended myself

Rittenhouse thought he was doing nothing wrong, and that he only opened fire after Rosenbaum had chased him and tried to grab his rifle.

Huber was killed after hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard, and Grosskreutz was shot after aiming a firearm at Rittenhouse. All three victims were white.

Video and witness statements from some of the prosecution’s own witnesses seemed to support Rittenhouse’s explanation of self-defense.

Witnesses described Rosenbaum as “hyper-aggressive” and said he tried to take the rifle from Rittenhouse just before he was shot. An expert witness said the gunshot wounds indicated that his hand was over the barrel of the rifle when he was shot.

Correction: In an earlier version of the article, it was written that the three men Rittenhouse shot were black. That’s not true, all the victims were white.

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