An American jury has cleared Kyle Rittenhouse of all allegations. On August 25 last year, 17-year-old Rittenhouse shot two men dead in Kenosha in Wisconsin. A third was badly injured.
The 12-member jury in the trial took 3.5 days to reach a judgment. If he had been found guilty, he could have been sentenced to life in prison.
Rittenhouse dropped to the ground after hearing the judges judgement and hugged one of his lawyers:
The teenager said at trial that he was defending himself and doing nothing wrong. He is said to have been cornered, but the US justice sued him for murder and manslaughter, among other things.
The prosecutor called Rittenhouse a “fake soldier” responsible for much more turmoil, by taking a rifle to the protest and pointing the weapon at protesters, before being arrested.
Restless for days
In Kenosha, last summer it was restless on the street for days after a black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by a white cop. Blake survived that, but became partially paralyzed. As it turned out, he had a knife in his car.
The agents involved were not charged anything and that led to protest. Demonstrations that were initially peaceful became grim in the evening and resulted in arson and looting.
Rittenhouse went to Kenosha on the third night, he says to protect local entrepreneurs. He also had resources to provide first aid to injured people. He stated in the process that he had taken care of some people, that he had taken graffiti off a wall and put out a fire near a church.
When asked about how he had come to the killing of his victims, Rittenhouse stated in court that the first man had cornered him and grabbed his rifle, causing him to fear the man would use that against him. The second man had hit him with a skateboard and the third had come to him with his own firearm. All three victims were white.
The case is loosening a lot in the US. Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement say Rittenhouse and his allies have put the situation on edge with their armed vigilante. Left-wing Americans find it an example of the danger of the free American arms policy.
Part of America right sees Rittenhouse as someone who tried to keep order and rightly defended himself when he was attacked.