KENOSHA, Wis. — Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges Friday after pleading self-defense in the deadly Kenosha shootings that became a flashpoint in the debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice in the U.S.

Rittenhouse, 18, began to choke up, fell to the floor and then hugged one of his attorneys upon hearing the verdict.

He had been charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering after killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests over police violence against Black people in the summer of 2020. The former police youth cadet is white, as were those he shot.

The jury, which appeared to be overwhelmingly white, deliberated for close to 3 1/2 days.

The jury at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial began deliberating for a fourth day Friday.

Rittenhouse could have gotten life in prison if found guilty on the most serious charge, first-degree intentional homicide, or what some other states call first-degree murder.

As he dismissed the jurors, Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder assured them the court would take “every measure” to keep them safe.

A sheriff’s deputy immediately whisked Rittenhouse out a back door through the judge’s chambers.

In reaction to the verdict, prosecutor Thomas Binger said the jury had spoken.

Rittenhouse's mother, sitting several feet away from him on a courtroom bench, gasped in delight and began crying as the clerk read out the string of five not-guilty verdicts, hugging others around her.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is Black and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, denounced the outcome.

“Over the last few weeks, many dreaded the outcome we just witnessed," Barnes said. "The presumption of innocence until proven guilty is what we should expect from our judicial system, but that standard is not always applied equally. We have seen so many black and brown youth killed, only to be put on trial posthumously, while the innocence of Kyle Rittenhouse was virtually demanded by the judge.”

Political figures on the right, meanwhile, welcomed the verdict and condemned the case brought against Rittenhouse.

“All of us who knew what actually happened in Kenosha last year assumed this would be the verdict,” tweeted Republican former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. “Thankfully, the jury thought the same.”

As the outcome drew near, Gov. Tony Evers pleaded for calm and said 500 National Guard members would be ready for duty in Kenosha if needed.

Rittenhouse was 17 when he went from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha after businesses in the city were ransacked and burned over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer.

Carrying a weapon that authorities said was illegally purchased for the underage Rittenhouse, he joined other armed citizens in what he said was an effort to protect property and provide medical aid.

Bystander and drone video captured most of the frenzied chain of events that followed: Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, then shot to death protester Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded demonstrator Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28.

Prosecutors portrayed Rittenhouse as a “wannabe soldier” who had gone looking for trouble that night and was responsible for creating a dangerous situation in the first place by pointing his rifle at demonstrators.

But Rittenhouse testified: “I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself.”

Breaking into sobs at one point, he told the jury he opened fire after Rosenbaum chased him and made a grab for his gun. He said he was afraid his rifle was going to be wrested away and used to kill him.

Huber was then killed after hitting Rittenhouse in the head or neck with a skateboard, and Grosskreutz was shot after pointing a gun of his own at Rittenhouse.

After the verdict, Huber's parents, Karen Bloom and John Huber, said the outcome “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 in the street.”

The case was part of an extraordinary confluence of trials that reflected the deep divide over race in the United States: In Georgia, three white men are on trial in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, while in Virginia, a trial is underway in a lawsuit over the deadly white-supremacist rally held in Charlottesville in 2017.

The exact racial makeup of the Rittenhouse jury wasn’t clear because jurors were not asked about their race in court.

The bloodshed in Kenosha took place during a summer of sometimes-violent protests set off across the U.S. by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other cases involving the police use of force against Black people.

While some Americans condemned Rittenhouse as a vigilante, some on the right hailed him as a hero who exercised his Second Amendment gun rights and tried to put a stop to lawlessness.

Then-President Donald Trump said it appeared Rittenhouse had been “very violently attacked.” Supporters donated more than $2 million toward his legal defense.

Rittenhouse had also been charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, a misdemeanor that had appeared likely to lead to a conviction. But the judge threw out that charge before jury deliberations after the defense argued that the Wisconsin law did not apply to the long-barreled rifle used by Rittenhouse.

Schroeder’s handling of the trial drew attention at several points, including when he led applause for military veterans on Veterans Day just before a defense witness who had been in the Army was about to take the stand. The judge also let Rittenhouse himself draw juror numbers from a raffle drum to set the final 12 who deliberated.

Video and testimony from some of the prosecution’s own witnesses seemed to buttress Rittenhouse’s claim of self-defense.

Witnesses described Rosenbaum as “hyperaggressive” and said that he dared others to shoot him and threatened to kill Rittenhouse earlier that night. A videographer testified Rosenbaum lunged for the rifle just before he was shot, and a pathologist said his injuries appeared to indicate his hand was over the barrel.

Also, Rosenbaum’s fiancee disclosed that he was on medication for bipolar disorder and depression. Rittenhouse’s lawyers branded Rosenbaum a “crazy person.”

Some civil rights activists saw a racial double standard in the way the white gunman was treated.

On the night of the shootings, law enforcement officers saw Rittenhouse and other armed people on the streets despite a curfew and gave them bottles of water, with one officer heard saying over a loudspeaker, “We appreciate you guys.”

Later, amid the tumult, Rittenhouse managed to get past a police line with his weapon slung over his shoulder and was not arrested that night.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

(81) comments

Mike Johnson

What, no protests in Santa Fe and ABQ? I guess since the victims were white, they don't count.

Katherine Martinez

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Lupe Molina

We can always count on you to stick up for the supremacy of white people, Mike!

Kirk Holmes

Highly possible Rittenhouse will stand to become extremely wealthy within the next few years after his attorneys “finish” those that baselessly defamed the young man, and continue to do so - POTUS will be one of many defendants that will “quietly” settle.

Lupe Molina

Man this comments section never ceases to amaze with weird boomers living out their Dirty Harry power fantasies.

Khal Spencer

[offtopic]

Johnny Duran

Joseph Rosenbaum has 11 charges for raping young boys. Open your eyes.

Sabine Strohem

@Johnny: did Rittenhouse know that? No? WTF does it have to do with anything? Answer: IT DOESN'T. Rittenhouse went hunting looters. He killed people. He didn't know ANYTHING about the people he killed. Don't be daft.

Johnny Duran

Strohem, the biased media news networks are spreading lies and victimizing those that incited their demise. The news media is claiming that these thugs were Angels. Rittenhouse was not hunting. Don't be so dramatic. Shhhhhh!!! You are melting.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup]More throw away junk from Lupe.....

Russell Scanlon

Every man thinks he is capable of Dirty Harry. In reality, it is more Barney Fife. Just ask someone who actually BEEN in law enforcement

Khal Spencer

I've yet to hear that someone is concealed carrying a Smith and Wesson Mod 29 in 44 magnum around Santa Fe. Most folks opt for a 9mm. So no Dirty Harry wannabes around here.

Mike Johnson

I have one of those Khal, but not a concealed carry permit, but I can legally strap it on my waist and go to the range and practice all I want, it is fun!

Mike Johnson

Khal, one of my favorite scenes explaining my gun......https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0lvp7a7pmk

Khal Spencer

To be fair, it took the jury 3 full days to acquit Rittenhouse. This was not a crystal clear case either way, but the jury said he was not acting criminally by the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of a criminal courtroom.

The hard part will be all of us rationally digesting this and learning from it rather than rioting, flaming out politically, or jeering the Left. Reading these comments, some here flunk that standard.

David French's article in the Atlantic, which was echoed by a lawyer interviewed on Democracy Now yesterday or the day before, said it best. Rittenhouse was not guilty, but he was a fool for being there. But even a fool has the right of self defense when attacked by other fools.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/11/kyle-rittenhouse-right-self-defense-role-model/620715/

Khal Spencer

More to read.

https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/here-are-my-contemporaneous-articles

Khal Spencer

Excerpt from Jesse Singal

"...While I’ve written plenty about right-wing epistemic closure, and while we have the very embodiment of it still slunking around the White House for another month and a half (epistemic closure is a major reason so many of his fans believe he actually won the election, after all), part of the reason I cover the subject of progressive epistemic closure frequently on Singal-Minded is because I really do think it’s a growing problem.

A major cause of this is the complete evisceration of journalism — an evisceration that has disproportionately hit the small and midsized newspapers most committed to old-school, ‘traditional’ newswriting, a style which certainly has its faults but which also has a natural built-in resistance to epistemic closure. Those who are still employed in journalism are more likely to have jobs where the incentives point toward outrage and tribalism — again, rightside norms rather than accuracy norms. If you’re a journalist or pundit in good standing among your fellow progressives, and you watch the videos and think Kyle Rittenhouse has a decent self-defense case, the last thing you want to do is publicly express that opinion, because 30 seconds after a story like this breaks, it becomes, as that Washington Post video put it, a “litmus test” for people’s tribal identifications. .."

Katherine Martinez

Foolishness is not a crime.

Russell Scanlon

Ugh.

Russell Scanlon

Let me repeat Khal: A minor obtained a weapon illegally (with the apparent endorsement of his parents) with the purpose of traveling to a site of urban unrest with the intention of confronting protestors and “protecting” businesses 20 miles from his house. He then murdered two people and injured another. Whatever contorted babble and erudite references you can conjure up will not change the facts. This verdict is an endorsement of vigilante behavior from people in the exclusive club of whiteness. Try to do a mental experiment where Kyle Rittenhouse is an underage Black person. Just try. You are a good man, and a clear thinker but here, I’m afraid, there is a bit of occlusion in your ethical processes. .

Khal Spencer

As far as obtaining a firearm illegally, that was not tested in court. I do wonder why the buyer was not charged with a straw purchase but it might be because the gun was not given to Rittenhouse but stored elsewhere with adults.

You are clearly out to lunch on this one. The jury exonerated the defendant of all homicide charges. Since murder is a legal term, you are using it incorrectly and politically rather than saying Rittenhouse shot and killed people but was exonerated of homicide charges. Go read the newspapers, as it is you rather than me who is offering contorted babble and erudite nonsense.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/19/us/rittenhouse-acquittal-self-defense.html

Russell Scanlon

OK Khal—let’s just call it “killing people”. And let the record show that you condone vigilante justice. Let’s all enjoy that slippery slope to chaos that is padded by your comforting rationalizations.

Khal Spencer

Speak for yourself, Mr. Scanlon. You don't speak for me.

Katherine Martinez

Russell Scanlon "exclusive club of whiteness". That is very incisive and divisive language--you will get nowhere with that attitude. That's directly from the pages of BLM and Antifa. Let's do better, shall we?

Russell Scanlon

Incisive, yes. Examining one’s prejudices is never comfortable. But unlike you, I am quite capable of imagining how this would have gone if Mr. Rittenhouse were a black man.

Mike Johnson

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Mike Johnson

"To be fair, it took the jury 3 full days to acquit Rittenhouse." Interesting for you to say that Khal, the NBC Nightly News put it this way: "After 24 hours of deliberations, Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges". So once again we see the media using misleading terms and semantics games to cast dispersions on the jury for a verdict they disagreed with. Disgusting.

Lee Allen

Mistrial should have been declared once it was obvious the jury selection and judge were tainted. I hope Judge Bruce Schroeder's behavior comes under intense legal scrutiny and is unseated for his egregiously biased and often quite bizarre behavior.

Barry Rabkin

Yes, private property and public property should be protected from looters and vandals ... even by using deadly force. Why? Because people work in those properties and none of those people should be told that their jobs are subservient to mobs / looters / vandals.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup] Very true. And if the police had been doing their job, and arresting and detaining the rioters, looters, and arsonists, there would be no need for a Kyle to travel there.

Khal Spencer

If Kyle Rittenhouse was my kid, I would have locked him in his room if that was legal. Still, one can be doing dumb things and still have a legal right of self defense when dumb people accost you.

Johnny Duran

It is time for Biden to apologize to this young man for slandering his good name. He was accused of being a white supremacist. Liberals accused this American of something that he is clearly not. This country will never heal until we return to the basics.

Johnny Duran

Justice Prevails!!! When liberals don't get their way, they melt like snowflakes. They tried to make this about race. They tried to interweave their insane narrative with a false agenda. These are the people that share the same minds as the folks that tore down our historical obelisk and beloved Don Diego. Facts and truth prevail.

pre·vail

/prəˈvāl/

prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious.

Khal Spencer

The law as written was applied and tested by a jury. Rittenhouse was a naive fool who never should have been there. Yeah, its complicated and as I said before, everyone wants to line up behind their political nonsense.

Mark Stahl

And I thought teenagers with illegally obtained guns were a problem. I guess I was wrong.

Russell Scanlon

A teenager got a rifle and went to the site of civil unrest to shoot people. 2 people were murdered. Listening to you folks doing mental gymnastics to justify this action is making me nauseous.

Robert Kowalski

I understand you hate fact and evidence that don’t flow with your ignorant narrative. It’s sad but true. I hope your never on a jury.

Kirk Holmes

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Mike Johnson

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Russell Scanlon

And I hope “your” never an English teacher. So much for ignorance. What I stated in my original post was the truth.

Richard Reinders

He shot a piece of sh** multiple child rapist in self defense in the pursuit of protecting his community that the police couldn’t and the Gov. wouldn’t and a jury of his peers agreed.

Kirk Holmes

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Mark Ortiz

He drove 20 miles. How big is your community Richard? Your reasoning is disingenuous and Lord knows you don't care that it is. I read the 11-count criminal complaint in the plea deal Rosenbaum was granted and sentenced to 12 years in Arizona, Dec. 2002. It looks like he served maybe 9 years while racking up 40 infractions while incarcerated, including numerous assaults on staff, manufacturing weapons, tampering with security devices, etc. I myself am against the death penalty. Joseph Rosenbaum was not rehabilitated and should never have been back on the streets as he was a child raping scumbag. He also should not have been shot by a vigilante. You are right, a jury of "HIS" (Kyle’s) peers did agree, no surprise there. How happy are you that Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan are also facing a jury of "THEIR" peers? Ya'll might go 4 for 4 on the white vigilante justice. Go MAGA!!!

Richard Reinders

Two different cases one was clearly racist and one wasn’t McMichael created their situation for being the aggressors and probably will be convicted.

Russell Scanlon

It doesn’t matter who he shot. He shouldn’t have been there with a rifle and the intention to shoot people.

Mark Ortiz

I agree.

Joseph Tafoya

Apparently, the judge disagrees with your argument. That's two strikes.

Mark Ortiz

He drove 20 miles. How big is your community Richard? Your reasoning is disingenuous and Lord knows you don't care that it is. I read the 11-count criminal complaint in the plea deal Rosenbaum was granted and sentenced to 12 years in Arizona, Dec. 2002. It looks like he served maybe 9 years while racking up 40 infractions while incarcerated, including numerous assaults on staff, manufacturing weapons, tampering with security devices, etc. I myself am against the death penalty. Joseph Rosenbaum was not rehabilitated and should never have been back on the streets as he was a child raping scumbag. He also should not have been shot by a vigilante. You are right, a jury of "HIS" (Kyle’s) peers did agree, no surprise there. How happy are you that Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan are also facing a jury of "THEIR" peers? Ya'll might go 4 for 4 on the white vigilante justice.

Richard Reinders

Rittenhouse family is in Kenosha , he grew up in Kenosha he lifeguards in Kenosha, he volunteers to clean graffiti in Kenosha he was a youth police cadet and was protecting his , his family and friends community, the FBI got his phone and found zero connection to any radical groups. Spend as much time researching Rittenhouse as the child rapist, you might think different. The Gov. put Kyle and others in this position by not doing his job.

Khal Spencer

Sorry, Russell. No one was murdered, since Rittenhouse was acquitted on all of the homicide charges.

Russell Scanlon

Oh that is such BS.

Khal Spencer

You are misusing a legal term. Rittenhouse was not convicted of murder. Period.

Joseph Tafoya

It appears that there were 12 jurors that saw the actual evidence and heard the actual arguments that disagree with you. The problem is not the defendant. It's the violence of the progressive left and BLM.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]BLM is a major terrorist, and socialist organization....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7C6tNjiRKY

Barry Rabkin

No verbal or mental gymnastics for me. Property, whether public or private, should always be protected from looters, vandals, or fire-setters. And that protection should include deadly force. There is no reason for looting, vandalism, or fire setting even if a minority is killed by police.

Marsden DeLapp

Before the trial I was sure Rittenhouse was guilty. But after watching part of the testimony, it became obvious to me that it was a case of self defense.

One thing that is really clear to me is that all news media sources are biased and present the news from their view. You need to get news from multiple sources. When ever possible, look at the source material. Watch the trial testimony, read the Muller Report, read the McHard Audit Report, etc.

Mike Johnson

Very true, I find it amazing so many people want to say the jury got it wrong, based on they political biases, as the watched CNN, MSNBC, or CBS slant the view of the evidence from the court room. Objective review of the facts here show self defense clearly.

Russell Scanlon

Oh yeah—it’s all the fault of CNN, MSNBC, or CBS. Geesh Mike. . .

Mark Ortiz

It's only acceptable by some as self defense because he is white. He never should have gone down there in the first place.

Mike Johnson

The people he killed were also white, are you saying it wouldn't be self defense to some if the ones he killed were POC? He should not have been there, but then again all these white anarchists and criminals should not have been there burning down and looting businesses either.

Joseph Tafoya

When you have nothing left for an argument, you draw the race card.

Mike Johnson

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Khal Spencer

Hi Marsden. When I read the initial NY Times narrative, I knew the premeditation and other most serious charges were political. The case was far more fraught than either the right or left would like to admit.

Jury called it as they saw it according to the law, not as a political show trial. Everyone else is flaming out with political opinions.

Russell Scanlon

Ugh—what if was YOUR kid who was shot? Do you support vigilantism?

Mike Johnson

My kid is not a stupid, radical anarchist and left wing operative who goes to protests to loot, riot, and burn businesses down. Those that do get what they deserve to get.

Russell Scanlon

Well I hope you share the same outrage at the activities of the Jan. 6th gang of rioters and misfits. But I just have a feeling that you will find some way to rationalize their actions.

Khal Spencer

If I had a kid, he would not be wandering off to post in a riot with a gun. That's not what the jury had to decide, in case it missed you.

Kirk Holmes

America - 1

Criminals - 0

Richard Reinders

It says more about a Governor, and Lt Governor unwilling to protect the businesses and people of Kenosha, and the police understaffed and unsupported by the National Guard. No citizen should be put in the situation of protecting his community, that is the Governments job.

Mark Ortiz

I'll give you the Government should have done their job which seems increasingly more and more is to protect commerce rather than ALL it's citizens, but to say Kyle had no choice, is quite the idiotic statement. BTW, we are specifically talking about Kyle who drove outside of his "community", not folks who are forced to protect their businesses from those opportunists causing violence during constitutionally protected protests. Kyle had three choices. 1. drive down there with no weapon and protest another white cop using excessive force on a minority. 2. As an immature 17-year-old who in one documented case, chose violence on a young lady, take an illegally acquired high power rifle into a highly emotional situation with his bias and roll the dice. 3. Stay home and petition elected officials to do their job in protecting the businesses he was so concerned about. He chose 2. rolled the dice, killed 3 people, walked off scot free. I disagree then he was found not guilty on all charges. My biggest concern is the judicial outcome will further embolden his budding ideology, which seems to have the support of some white nationalists.

Emily Koyama

And, your last sentence is the REAL reason for the Left's outrage at this verdict. The media, along with the left wing politicians, and many commenters here, do not want anyone (even the Police) standing up against the BLM/Antifa thugs burning our cities. Rittenhouse was supposed to go to prison for life, so that a "message" would be sent to anyone who dares to take any action against these movements.

I have a feeling that if this was a story about a black man who went to a city and shot a few right-wingers protesting against BLM or Biden, etc, you'd all be singing a much different tune.

Katherine Martinez

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Khal Spencer

Rittenhouse had strong ties to the Kenosha community, as others have said here and as has been written up elsewhere. Also, apparently he could legally carry the rifle. Whether it was an illegal straw purchase has yet to be decided. My guess, based on what I have read and what is on the ATF 4473 form, the actual buyer lied and that's a Federal crime. I think the buyer is facing charges.

But he was found not guilty on all charges. That said, I seriously doubt anyone wants to be arrested on a homicide charge, have to post two million bucks bail, and stand trial at risk of spending life in prison. Like so many others on the Left, you are replacing real people with your own cardboard cutout people and filling in the blanks with your own prejudices. People on the right do it too, and that is driving the nation apart.

As far as your three choices? Definitely, Rittenhouse should not have been there, period. He was too young and too immature to know what the devil he was doing. Wandering away from his "colleagues" and into the night on his own in the middle of a riot was sheer folly, whether or not he was armed. That said, the jury spoke and if some on this comment board don't like what 12 rational people unanimously decided using the law rather than making this a political show trial (which is the only reason I can think of that the homicide charges were filed so quickly), that's the peanut gallery's problem.

Maybe someone on the Left should be asking why its OK to riot and commit arson and not expect the S**t to hit the fan. Violence begets more violence.

Joseph Tafoya

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Mark Ortiz

"Some civil rights activists saw a racial double standard in the way the white gunman was treated." This statement, this sentiment is part of the problem. The media reporting that a minority of a so called special interest group feels there is a double standard, that this was unjust. It's a false statement that tries to discredit that facts that the US Government and still an alarming number of Americans rule over and support systemic racism.

Joseph Tafoya

There are no more racist organizations than BLM.

Sabine Strohem

Countdown to his next arrest.

Robert Kowalski

Countdown to your next inane comment.

Mike Johnson

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Khal Spencer

Rittenhouse is obviously going to be under a lot of pressure to try to return to a normal life, but your comment is asinine.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup]Yes, just one in a series....

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