Kyle Rittenhouse shot three men, two of them fatally, last year during Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Being accused of reckless homicide, Rittenhouse has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he acted in self-defense.
A Wisconsin jury ruled on Friday that Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty of any of the charges brought against him in connection with three shootings at a protest in Kenosha in August 2020.
Rittenhouse faced several counts, including one count of first-degree reckless homicide for shooting Joseph Rosenbaum to death on August 25, 2020, and an intentional homicide charge in relation to the shooting death of Anthony Huber on the same night. A third, Gaige Grosskreutz, was also shot by Rittenhouse but survived, and Rittenhouse was also charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide and use of a dangerous weapon for that shooting as well.
He also faced two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety for shots fired close to other people that did not strike them.
Rittenhouse was also accused of illegally possessing a dangerous weapon as a minor, but Judge Bruce Schroeder threw out that charge, saying that the law on possession was not clear. The judge also threw out a charge related to Rittenhouse’s violation of a police curfew in Kenosha that night.
The case has severely divided the American public, with one camp insisting that Rittenhouse was guilty and needed to be convicted, and advocates of the opposite claiming that the case was “political” and that accusations against the teenager were fueled by a “left-wing cult.”
The prosecution and the defense have also seen increased tensions as the legal proceedings went on, with the latter accusing the prosecutors of attempting to withhold key evidence by not providing a higher quality video from the drone that depicted the Kenosha incident.
Judge Schroeder has also faced backlash from those believing Rittenhouse is guilty and accusing the judge of being “biased.”
Last year, then-17-year-old Rittenhouse travelled from Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, with the goal of “protecting” local businesses from rioters, as he put it, as the city was engulfed in protests against racism and police brutality following the police shooting of a Black man named Jacob Blake. During an altercation in the street, Rittenhouse shot three people, two of them fatally. All three were white.
Ahead of the jury’s decision, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers had 500 Wisconsin Army National Guard troops deployed outside the city of Kenosha in case they are needed amid renewed protests against the court’s decision. Several dozen demonstrators maintained a presence outside the courthouse during the trial, most of them calling for Rittenhouse’s jailing.