Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of murdering two protesters on the sidelines of anti-racist protests in the United States, has been acquitted

After twenty-six hours of deliberation spread over four days, the jury which had withdrawn Tuesday to debate the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of the murder of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and of having injured a third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, on the sidelines of anti-racist demonstrations in 2020, was acquitted on Friday, November 19. The twelve jurors declared it ” not guilty “ of the five charges against him, including murders.

The 18-year-old, who appeared free, supporters having paid the $ 2 million bail, faced life imprisonment, had pleaded self-defense in this revealing case of America’s guns fractures , self-defense and the anti-racist movement Black Lives Matter (“black lives matter”).

“When deciding on the verdict, keep in mind that the accused caused the incident, because under Wisconsin law you cannot claim self-defense against a danger you create. “, had assen in his plea the prosecutor Thomas Binger, who was therefore not heard by the jury.

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“Expressing opinions peacefully,” asks Joe Biden

President Joe Biden took note of the judgment on Friday. “The jury system works. We must respect it “, did he declare. The Head of State recognized, in a statement, that the verdict had “Plunged many Americans into anger and concern, myself included.” Most “I call on everyone to express their opinions peacefully, with respect for the law”, he tempered.

“It is inconceivable that our judicial system would allow a self-proclaimed armed vigilante (…) to act freely ”, said in a statement the Congressman Black Caucus, which brings together the African-American elected representatives of Congress. New York Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio also blasted a ” miscarriage of justice “, while Republican Congresswoman Mary Miller tweeted: ” God bless America “.

The trial was broadcast widely across the country, which awaited the verdict with some trepidation. As a precaution, the governor of Wisconsin has asked five hundred National Guard soldiers to stand ready to intervene in Kenosha.

Two dead and one injured

On August 23, 2020, this city in the Great Lakes region was set on fire after a police blunder against an African-American. Then aged 17, Kyle Rittenhouse had equipped himself with a semi-automatic rifle and had joined armed groups that had come ” protect “ businesses. Under confusing circumstances, he opened fire, killing two men and wounding a third. All of his victims are white.

Kyle Rittenhouse has become a muse in certain right-wing circles for whom the great mobilization against police violence in the summer of 2020 was the work of“Antifas” or“Anarchists”. Conversely, on the left, he embodies the excesses of the culture of weapons and the right to self-defense.

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Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of murdering two protesters on the sidelines of anti-racist protests in the United States, has been acquitted