Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man who faced multiple charges for killing two men and wounding a third during a night of violent, anti-police riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020, was acquitted of all charges on Friday after a three-week trial that captured the attention of the nation.
Rittenhouse, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shootings, was arrested last year amidst a rash of violence that overcame Kenosha in the wake of the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse was confronted by two rioters in the streets of Kenosha in 2020, Joshua Ziminski and Joseph Rosenbaum, both of whom were reportedly part of a group of arsonists who had been setting fires all night. Video evidence shows that Rosenbaum was armed with a handgun, which he discharged, and then chased Rittenhouse, who was legally armed with an AR-15, across a parking lot.
Rittenhouse reportedly shot Rosenbaum four times before a second altercation occured with another looter, Anthony Huber. Rittenhouse also fatally shot Huber. A third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, also drew his pistol and, according to his own testimony, pointed it at Rittenhouse as he was walking by on the streets. Rittenhouse then shot him in the arm.
On November 15, amid the closing arguments in the Rittenhouse trial, the Wisconsin judge presiding over the case, Judge Schroeder, motioned to handily dismiss the sixth count against Kyle Rittenhouse, which was an underage gun charge. The court determined that Kyle Rittenhouse did indeed lawfully carry his AR-15 into Kenosha on the night of August 25, 2020. With the sixth count thrown out the window, Rittenhouse then faced five felony counts, two of which were homicide charges.
Additionally, there were multiple reports that the jurors on the case, who were surprisingly not sequestered, were potentially at risk of being exposed to the public. The Kenosha Police Department released an official statement that a person claiming to be associated with MSNBC attempted to follow the juror bus after the second day of deliberations had concluded, and it was suspected that this person was trying to photograph the jurors and release their identities to the public. Such an action would have been a gross violation of justice and could have resulted in a mistrial. As a result of the incident, Judge Schroeder banned MSBNC from trial coverage in the courtroom.
On Friday, the jury presented their unanimous verdicts on all five charges against Kyle Rittenhouse: not guilty. Rittenhouse, who had endured three weeks of intense trial proceedings and was faced with the prospect of a potential life-long prison sentence, collapsed when the final verdict was read, obviously overcome with emotion and relief. In addition, conservatives like Wendy Rogers., R-Ariz., political commentator Allie Beth Stuckey and Jack Posobiec, Senior Editor of Human Events, reacted to Rittenhouse’s exoneration:
In the wake of Kyle Rittenhouse’s newfound freedom, Kenosha is bracing for more riots and looting. Main stream media outlets, who dogmatically labeled Rittenhouse as a trigger-happy aggressor and a “white supremacist” (despite the verifiable fact that even the men who Rittenhouse shot were white themselves), have seemingly stoked the flames of racial tension in this trial. Media logic seems to assert that this is because Kyle Rittenhouse happened to shoot two white men while in Kenosha, Wisconsin during violent riots protesting the shooting of a black man.
However skewed this logic may be, Kenosha business owners are likely nervous, especially given the extent of looting and rioting they endured last summer. Whether or not more riots break out remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Kyle Rittenhouse is a free man, and there is nothing that left-wing talking heads or angry rioters can do to change that legal fact.