The conclusion of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, in which the 18-year-old was found not guilty of murder or assault in the shootings of three rioters in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, reflects a widening gap in how Americans conceive of justice and self-defense.
For those cheering Rittenhouse’s exoneration, the case was a prototypical demonstration of rights and obligations of republican citizenship. A lawfully armed Rittenhouse joined with neighbors, in the absence of effective governance, to protect lives and property by putting out fires, cleaning up damage, and offering medical assistance to the injured. When he was directly assaulted for engaging in this activity, Rittenhouse defended himself, harming no one who had not directly placed him under reasonable fear for his life.
Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber (both white men) because of white supremacy, according to left-wing politicians and journalists.
Rittenhouse shot three people (all white), killing two, in a claimed self-defense incident after he was charged by left-wing rioters during unrest in Kenosha last year. A jury cleared him of all charges on Friday.
According to people like Rep. Cori Bush, Rittenhouse’s acquittal was “white supremacy in action.”
“This system isn’t built to hold white supremacists accountable. It’s why Black and brown folks are brutalized and put in cages while white supremacist murderers walk free,” she said on Twitter.
In the high-profile trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of intentional homicide after killing two and wounding one during an August 25, 2020 riot in Kenosha, Judge Bruce Schroeder began Monday by dismissing a weapons charge against the 18-year-old defendant.
Count six of the complaint, possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor, was dropped before closing arguments began. That was a lesser charge in the complaint – a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in prison.