Jury acquits Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man who killed two people at anti-racism demonstrations in Kenosha | International

Kyle Rittenhouse reacts while reading his acquittal verdict.
Kyle Rittenhouse reacts while reading his acquittal verdict.POOL (Reuters)

The jury in Kyle Rittenhouse’s case reached a unanimous verdict on Friday: the 18-year-old has been acquitted of five charges against him, including murder. Upon hearing the fifth sentence of “not guilty”, the teenager began to tremble and passed out, having to sit down and hold on to the chair to regain control. She was trembling and not crying, but it took her breath away. Behind him, his family was silently satisfied. Judge Bruce Schroeder had warned that there could be no reaction whatever the verdict. “As you can see, there are many law enforcement agencies here,” he warned.

After four days of deliberations the verdict was eagerly awaited. The most harrowing part of the process began: the wait. Four days the NBC television network was even barred from entering the room after the judge accused her of following a member of the jury in a van to get more information. There is no possibility of appeal. Rittenhouse is as of today a free man.

The judge let the jury members out on Monday night with a sentence that weighed like a stone: “The resolution of this case remains on your shoulders.” After eight days of trial and more than 30 witnesses, five men and seven women had to decide on the innocence or guilt of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old accused of killing two people and injuring a third on the night of August 25, 2020 , when the city of Kenosha (Wisconsin) was experiencing its third day of protests against police violence.

With the jury withdrawn for deliberations, the court regained its lost composure Tuesday from the dramatic testimony that took place during the trial. Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Kenosha City, State Governor Tony Evers has ordered the deployment of 500 National Guard members to ensure public safety in the face of possible riots pending a final verdict.

The 12 men and women would have to agree, unanimously and beyond any reasonable doubt, whether Kyle Rittenhouse, then 17, committed premeditated murder using a dangerous weapon in the death of 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum; first-degree manslaughter killing Anthony Huber, 26, and premeditated manslaughter, injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, 26. The critical minutes of that night two people were killed by bullets from an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle were recorded by a passerby . During the hearing, the Public Ministry also repeatedly showed images of drones that accompanied the events and in which the death could be seen live.

Protests over police gunfire that paralyzed Jacob Blake entered their third day of unrest as the country, following the brutal death of George Floyd by a police officer, was experiencing its most violent summer since civil rights demonstrations in years. 60. It was then that Rittenhouse decided to drive the little more than 30 kilometers by car that separate his house in Antioch (Illinois) from neighboring Kenosha (Wisconsin) and that condemned his life. There are hundreds of images. In them, a young man, then 17, with a child’s face, is seen walking along the city streets on the shores of Lake Michigan carrying an assault rifle on his shoulder. For the prosecution, Rittenhouse acted as a vigilante seeking revenge against looters and protesters who protested against the police. For the young man’s lawyers, Rittenhouse went to Kenosha in an act of patriotism to help his community and was forced, in order to defend his life, to fatally shoot Rosenbaum and Huber and injure Grosskreutz.

Again, in the United States, Kenosha’s trial was not confined to just one man and his alleged crimes. Once again she was exposed to the idiosyncrasy of a nation that makes it routine for both prosecutor and defense attorney to display the key piece of judgment, an assault rifle, and pose with it to prove their point. An idiosyncrasy that allows the charge of illegally possessing a firearm in the hands of a 17-year-old boy to be dropped because an old Wisconsin state law allows the possession of guns of a certain size, and the AR-15 fulfills that requirement.

As the days of the trial passed, tempers grew tense. When the defendant came forward to testify and argue that he acted in self-defense, prosecutors subjected him to severe interrogation for hours. Judge Bruce Schroeder, who may have played an excessive role in this case, repeatedly warned the prosecution and even raised his voice. This same judge is the one who did not even accept the use of the word “victims” to refer to the dead, arguing that it was not clear whether they were in fact a threat to which the accused youth had no choice but to respond.

Down the line, on the day Rittenhouse left the dock to testify, anyone who wanted to connect to a television network could see an 18-year-old fall apart during his testimony. Overcome with tears, Rittenhouse could barely finish his testimony. Finally, the judge opted for a recess.

For Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, that moment of the teenager’s weakness to remember what happened was further proof that Rittenhouse had no mercy on his victims and was aware that he shot to kill. “Even on the stand, when he breaks down and cries, he’s doing it for himself, not for any of the people he hurt that night,” Binger said. “He doesn’t show regret, he doesn’t care about anyone but himself,” the lawyer said.

The prosecutor went even further in his strategy of dismantling the self-defense theory by looking directly at the jurors and telling them that, in deciding the verdict, they should “take into account that the accused caused the incident” because, according to the law in force in the State of Wisconsin, “you may not plead self-defense against a danger of your own making.”

In one of the more theatrical moments, Binger took the semi-automatic rifle Rittenhouse used and enacted the way the teenager held it and pointed the gun at Rosenbaum, Huber, and finally Grosskreutz.