The protests demonstrated a raw wave of emotions felt across the nation after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all five charges he faced, including intentional homicide, after he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz at a demonstration in Kenosha, Wis., following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Reactions to the verdict were divided along partisan lines, with conservatives cheering the decision, even offering Rittenhouse congressional internships, while Democrats rebuked it.
After four days of deliberations, a jury acquitted 18-year old Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges related to his killing of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020. That night, thousands had hit the streets to protest the August 23rd police shooting of Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed after being shot in the back seven times by Kenosha city police officers. Rittenhouse traveled from his home state of Illinois to join a right-wing militia at the protest. Rittenhouse was charged with five felonies including first degree intentional homicide. He argued that he acted in self-defense when he fired his semi-automatic rifle, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and injuring Gaige Grusskreutz. The court proceedings were riddled with unusual moves on the part of Judge Bruce Schroeder, who had Rittenhouse draw the names of jurors to be designated as alternates in a game show-style raffle tumbler.
Rittenhouse, 17 at the time of the shootings, had traveled to Kenosha from Illinois to join a far-right “patriot” vigilante militia calling itself the “Kenosha Guard,” which had been mobilized to “defend property” and assist the police with crushing the protests that had erupted two days earlier following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Blake was shot seven times in the back at point-blank range in front of his children, leaving him paralyzed. The Kenosha shootings occurred in the midst of the reverberations of the largest demonstrations in American history, during which an estimated 15 to 26 million people took to the streets following the murder of George Floyd to protest the epidemic of police killings and official cover-ups.
On August 25, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse drove across state lines with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and killed two people. He then, carrying the murder weapon, walked past a police line as witnesses screamed that he was getting away, got back in his car, and drove home. All in a day’s work for the young Rittenhouse, a vocal member of the Blue Lives Matter “movement” who came to Kenosha, Wisconsin (a town and a state that he didn’t live in) with the express intention of using violence against Black Lives Matter protesters — framed, of course, as a “defense” of property. Rittenhouse’s trial began on November 1 and it has quickly become clear that the worst assumptions of many activists are correct: the fix is in and the criminal “justice” system is clearly working to protect Rittenhouse.