The family members of the men shot by teen
Rittenhouse, 18, was acquitted on all counts on Thursday after the Kenosha, Wisconsin jury accepted his claim that he acted in self-defense in confrontations during violent protests last summer.
Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and fired a bullet that tore a chunk off the arm of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28.
‘Today’s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son,’ said the family of Anthony Huber following the verdict.
‘It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people,’ the family statement added.
From left, Kariann Swart, Joseph Rosenbaum’s fiancée, Susan Hughes, Anthony Huber’s great aunt, and Hannah Gittings, Anthony Huber’s girlfriend, react as Rittenhouse is found not guilty on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Thursday
Hannah Gittings, the late Anthony Huber’s girlfriend, right, cries after Kyle Rittenhouse is found not guilty on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse
Susan Hughes, Anthony Huber’s great aunt, leave court stunned following the verdict
Hannah Gittings, Anthony Huber’s girlfriend, walks out of court after the trial concluded
The jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges: two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide for wounding a third man, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety.
Rittenhouse broke down sobbing after the verdict and collapsed to the floor before being helped back into his chair. The verdict came shortly after the judge warned the courtroom to remain silent or be removed.
Amid a heavy law enforcement presence, several dozen protesters lined the steps outside the courthouse after the verdict was read, some carrying placards in support of Rittenhouse and others expressing disappointment.
‘We are all so very happy that Kyle can live his life as a free and innocent man, but in this whole situation there are no winners, there are two people who lost their lives and that’s not lost on us at all,’ David Hancock, a spokesperson for the Rittenhouse family, told Reuters.
Rittenhouse testified in his own defense last Wednesday in the trial’s most dramatic moment – a risky decision by his lawyers given his youth and the prospect of tough prosecution cross-examination.
Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all counts. The verdict came in at 12.15pm Friday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, leading to fears that the city might once again erupt in violence
Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, reacts as her son is found not guilty on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse
The teen broke down sobbing at one point but emphasized that he fired upon the men only after being attacked.
‘I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me,’ he said.
Rittenhouse testified that he shot Huber after he had struck him with a skateboard and pulled on his weapon.
He said he fired on Grosskreutz after the man pointed the pistol he was carrying at the teenager – an assertion Grosskreutz acknowledged under questioning from the defense.
Rittenhouse testified that he shot Rosenbaum after the man chased him and grabbed his gun.
President Joe Biden, who during last year’s election campaign tweeted a video that appeared to link Rittenhouse to white supremacists, said on Friday he supported the jury’s decision.
But elsewhere reaction showed deep partisan divisions. It was greeted with outrage by many on the political left and celebrated by gun rights supporters.
‘It is unconscionable our justice system would allow an armed vigilante … to go free,’ the Congressional Black Caucus said in a statement.
The thorny issue of race also hung over the case, although Rittenhouse and the men he shot were all white. Some Black activists said on Friday the U.S. police and courts would have treated the teenager more harshly if he had been Black.
But conservatives saw the verdict as a validation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which grants Americans the right to bear arms.
U.S. congressman Madison Cawthorn, a Republican representative from North Carolina, said on Instagram: ‘Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty my friends. You have a right to defend yourselves. Be armed, be dangerous and be moral.’
Developing story, more to follow.
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