One of the most controversial and highly publicized trials in recent history has drawn to a close, with Kyle Rittenhouse being found not guilty on all counts.
18-year-old Rittenhouse shot and killed two men during protests in Kenosha on 25 August 2020.
The teenager always claimed he acted in self defense, and now he has been freed and cleared of all charges.
Sheriffs in Portland, Oregon declared a riot downtown after “violent, destructive behavior by a significant part of the crowd”.
To those gathered near the Justice Center: This gathering is a riot. All persons leave the area now. Travel to the west. Failure to adhere to this order may subject you to detention, citation and or arrest. You are subject to force to include pepper spray and impact weapons.
— PPB Event Messages (@PPBAlerts) November 20, 2021
A number of videos from Oregon have been uploaded to social media, showing tense scenes between police and angered members of the public.
Portland, Oregon currently
— United States News Block (@USNewsBlock) November 20, 2021
Breaking: Riots are ongoing in Portland, Oregon, after the Rittenhouse verdict. pic.twitter.com/lmRRlCj1fe
— PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) November 20, 2021
After the unrest, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley called for any protests following the verdict to be peaceful.
“We ask that all members of the public accept the verdicts peacefully and not resort to violence,” he wrote in a statement on Friday.
The Judge at the centre of the case, Bruce Schroeder, who was accused of bias, has praised the ‘wonderful’ Jury after the verdict.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better jury to work with, and it has truly been my pleasure,”
Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson tweeted the trailer for a documentary about the trial, to be released next month.
The clip shows Rittenhouse speaking about the verdict in a car after leaving the courthouse.
“I believe they came to the correct verdict, and I’m glad everything went well.
“It’s been a rough journey, but we made it through it.
“We made it through the hard part.”
Rittenhouse now wants to study nursing at Arizona State University and wants to be treated like any other student.
NewsNation asked if the teenager had “hopes to be on campus as any other student would be,” and he replied “yes.”
“And do you think that’s going to be doable?” he was asked.
“I hope so because I just want to be a normal 18-year-old college student trying to better my future and get into a career in nursing,” Rittenhouse said.
Also in the interview, Rittenhouse confirmed he’d sacked his previous lawyer Lin Wood ‘because he was, like, going on with all this QAnon and election fraud stuff and just stuff we don’t agree with’.
He’s insane… how he thinks he’s God and he just says all these weird things. Like ‘we’re going to keep that boy in jail because there’s not gonna be any … civil or criminal cases come the election,’ which is just complete insanity.
And QAnon are not happy about it. With one threatening ‘he shouldn’t sh*t where he sleeps’.
As reported by Insider, one Telegram user, ID April Axsom, wrote:
This kid is not as good as he’s played. Crisis actor or autistic….his lawyers have the strings on this money puppet. But firing an amazing lawyer based on his personal beliefs is not a normal thing. He’s a political pawn. Patriots have raised this teen too high up.
President Biden has spoken about his ‘anger’ at the verdict.
He said in a statement:
“I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works and we have to abide by it.”
“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken.”
The family of victim Anthony Huber, who was shot dead by Rittenhouse, have echoed the President’s sentiment.
Their statement reads:
“We are heartbroken and angry that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in his criminal trial for the murder of our son Anthony Huber. There was no justice today for Anthony, or for Mr Rittenhouse’s other victims, Joseph Rosenbaum and Gaige Grosskreutz.
“We did not attend the trial because we could not bear to sit in a courtroom and repeatedly watch videos of our son’s murder, and because we have been subjected to many hurtful and nasty comments in the past year. But we watched the trial closely, hoping it would bring us closure.
“That did not happen. Today’s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. 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 in the street. We hope that decent people will join us in forcefully rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system.”
Huber’s girlfriend, Hannah, says she feels sorry for Rittenhouse.
‘I do have a lot of sympathy for this kid because he is just a kid to me so it was just like a really dumbass kid who unfortunately became the figurehead for this,’
The Black Lives Matter movement also expressed their dismay at the verdict, with one simple tweet.
Former San Francisco 49ers star and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick branded Rittenhouse a ‘terrorist’ on Twitter.
“We just witnessed a system built on white supremacy validate the terroristic acts of a white supremacist. This only further validates the need to abolish our current system. White supremacy cannot be reformed,”
Twitter have been quick to point out that Kaepernick could be sued for defamation for his comments.
Mark Ruffalo and Khloe Kardashian also divided opinions with their take on the verdict.
They wrote on Twitter:
One person to congratulate the teenager, however, was former President Donald Trump. In an email to his subscribers, Trump said:
‘Congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse for being found INNOCENT of all charges,’ it read.
‘It’s called being found NOT GUILTY – and by the way, if that’s not self defence, nothing is! This trial was nothing more than a WITCH HUNT from the Radical Left. They want to PUNISH law-abiding citizens, including a CHILD, like Kyle Rittenhouse, for doing nothing more than following the LAW.’
Rittenhouse has been forced to flee Kenosha after receiving serious death threats, his attorney has confirmed.
“I knew this case was big. I had no idea it was going to be this big. It takes a while to process what happened today. I haven’t processed it,” before mentioning, “to me, it’s scary how many death threats we’ve had. I was answering my phone on the way back from court in Kenosha. My office isn’t that far. After the third death threat, I quit answering the phone,”
He has to get on with his life the best he can. I think eventually some anonymity will come back to it. I don’t think he’ll continue to live in this area. I think it’s too dangerous.
Rittenhouse is currently living in a confidential location.
The 18-year-old has spoken out in his first interview since the trial, with Fox News, in which he says he supports Black Lives Matter.
“This case has nothing to do with race, it never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self defence,”
“I’m not a racist person, I support the Black Lives Matter movement, I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to be change, I believe there’s a lot of prospect to a misconduct – not just in my case but in a lot of cases,”