The result of one of the most resonant trials in recent years has become known: the jury found the 18-year-old American Kyle Rittenhouse innocent, who shot two people.
The tragedy occurred in August 2020 during the riots in Kenosha (Wisconsin). They took place in the wake of the protest actions of supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement that swept across America. On 23 August, local police officers wounded a black Jacob Blake who was trying to detain him for domestic violence. The man did not die, but the incident sparked riots in Kenosha.
Rittenhouse, then 17, came to Wisconsin from neighboring Illinois and joined a detachment of volunteers who volunteered to patrol the city with weapons along with the police and protect the property of local residents from marauders (at that time, instead of a peaceful demonstration, pogroms, looting and arson had already begun).
Our job is to protect business, and I consider helping people to be part of that job. If someone calls for help, I will run there. That is why I am here, – he told the TV journalist just a few minutes before the further tragic events.
Rittenhouse, armed with a rifle, was involved in one of the clashes between the demonstrators and the police, as well as the volunteers on her side.
One of the protesters, 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, tried to take the gun away from the young man, and Rittenhouse fired four shots. Rosenbaum soon died of his wounds.
Using weapons, Kyle Rittenhouse tried to escape, 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 was fatal for Huber.
The last time Rittenhouse shot at 26-year-old Gage Grosskreutz, who was holding a pistol, and wounded him in the arm.
According to the press, after everything that happened, Kyle Rittenhouse raised his hands up and went to the police cars himself. The young man was arrested the next day. He was charged with murder and illegal possession of weapons, and the maximum punishment he faced was life in prison.
On November 1, 2021, the trial began. Rittenhouse's lawyers insisted that his actions should be regarded as self-defense. The prosecution stated that the teenager himself provoked the dangerous situation.
Public opinion on this issue is divided. The media also covered the process in different ways: somewhere Kyle was called a “terrorist and vigilante”, somewhere – “a volunteer and a peacemaker.”
A hearing was held yesterday at which the jury found Rittenhouse innocent on all counts. After hearing the verdict, the young man could not hold back his tears. After the trial, he told reporters:
I think they delivered the right verdict and I am very glad that everything went well. It was not an easy path, but we went through it. We passed the most difficult part of it. The decision prompted a new wave of controversy over this particular case, as well as 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 jury.”
When asked by journalists about the justice of the verdict, the US President replied that he “supports the jury's decision.” Later Joe Biden issued an official comment:
The Kenosha verdict will make many Americans feel angry and anxious, and I'm no different. However, we must admit that the jury gave their opinion. I made a promise to unite the Americans, because I believe that what unites us is much stronger than what divides us, the head of state said in a statement.