High-profile case in the USA: 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two demonstrators, was acquitted

Juliette Morgan
High-profile case in the USA: 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two demonstrators, was acquitted

The result of one of the most resonant trials in recent times has become known: the jury found not guilty 18-year-old American Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot two people. The tragedy occurred in August 2020 during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin. They took place in the wake of the protest actions of supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement that swept the whole of America. On August 23, local police officers wounded a black Jacob Blake, who was trying to detain for domestic violence. The man was not killed, but the incident caused riots in Kenosha. Rittenhouse, then 17-year-old, came to Wisconsin from neighboring Illinois and joined groups of volunteers who volunteered to patrol the city with weapons together with the police and protect the property of local residents from looters (at that time, instead of a peaceful demonstration, pogroms, looting and arson had already begun).

Our job is to protect business, and I think helping people is part of that job. If someone calls for help— I'll run there. That's why I'm here—" he told a TV journalist just a few minutes before further tragic events.

Rittenhouse, armed with a rifle, turned out to be a participant in one of the clashes between demonstrators and the police, as well as volunteers who spoke on her side. One of the protesters, 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, tried to take away the young man's weapon, and Rittenhouse fired four shots. Rosenbaum died soon after from his injuries. Using a weapon, Kyle Rittenhouse tried to run away, a crowd of protesters rushed after him. The teenager was attacked, he fell to the asphalt, and when another of the protesters, 26-year-old Anthony Huber, hit him with a skateboard, Rittenhouse opened fire again. A rifle shot in the chest proved fatal for Huber. The last time Rittenhouse shot at 26-year-old Gage Grosskreutz, who was holding a gun, and wounded him in the arm. According to the press, after everything that happened, Kyle Rittenhouse raised his hands up and headed for the police cars himself. The young man was arrested the next day. He was charged with murder and illegal possession of weapons, the maximum penalty he faced was a life sentence. On November 1, 2021, the trial began. Rittenhouse's lawyers insisted that his actions should be regarded as self-defense. The prosecution also claimed that the teenager himself provoked a dangerous situation.  Public opinion on this issue was divided into diametrically opposed. The media also covered the process in different ways: somewhere Kyle was called a "terrorist and vigilante", somewhere - a "volunteer and peacemaker".

Yesterday, a meeting was held at which the jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts. After hearing the verdict, the young man could not hold back tears. After the trial , he told reporters:

I think they made the right verdict, and I am very glad that everything went well. It was not an easy path, but we have passed it. We have passed the most difficult part of it. The decision caused a new wave of controversy both over this particular case and on the topic of protests, the problem of racism, the availability of firearms and the justice system in general. In particular, some media outlets are already expressing dissatisfaction with the fact that "there was an overwhelming majority of whites among the jurors."

The US President answered journalists' questions about the fairness of the verdict that he "supports the jury's decision." A little later, Joe Biden released an official comment:The verdict handed down in Kenosha will make many Americans feel anger and anxiety, I am no exception. However, we must admit that the jury has expressed its opinion. I made a promise to unite Americans because I believe that what unites us is much stronger than what divides us," the head of state said in a statement.

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