Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty all charges in deadly Kenosha shootings

Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all counts in his homicide trial, after four days of deliberations by the jury, BBC News reports.

The 12-person jury consisted of seven women and five men. Rittenhouse's defense argued that the then-17-year-old had feared for his life last August. Prosecutors countered this stating that the teenager was out looking for trouble. "You cannot claim self-defence against a danger that you create," prosecutors said.

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes has voiced his displeasure at the not-guilty verdict, telling reporters: "Over the last few weeks, many dreaded the outcome we just witnessed."

Barnes added: "We have seen so many black and brown youth killed, only to be put on trial posthumously, while the innocence of Kyle Rittenhouse was virtually demanded by the judge."

BBC reports that National Guard troops have been dispatched to the city, with official fearing the verdict could result in unrest throughout Kenosha.

Rittenhouse, 18, of Antioch, Illinois, shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz on August 25, 2020, with an AR-15 rifle, during protests which took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The teenager, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, had been charged with five felonies; first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Rittenhouse had denied all the charges and maintained he acted in self-defense.
His homicide trial started on November 1 and had seen testimonies from dozens of witnesses and footage taken of the night the then-17-year-old opened fire. Jurors were even played a graphic video of Rosenbaum lying still, unable to breathe after he was shot four times.

On November 17, the jury (five men and seven women) ended its second day of deliberations without reaching a verdict. This was after they had reviewed several videos of the deadly incident last year, Reuters reports.

The defense team also made a new request for a mistrial, arguing that the prosecution had refused to use the high-definition version of a drone video used in evidence and manipulated it in order to portray Rittenhouse as the aggressor. The prosecution has refuted this claim.

Prosecutors have portrayed the young man as a vigilante who was armed with a gun he was not legally permitted to have in his possession - and as someone who was seeking vengeance against anti-police protestors, USA Today reports.

The defense, on the other hand, have painted Rittenhouse as an upstanding member of society, with a sense of patriotism and desire to protect his community.

On the day of the shooting, protestors had taken to the streets to demonstrate against the police shooting of Blake, a Black man who was tasered and then shot four times from behind by a white police officer.
Although he survived the incident, Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down, and also sustained serious injuries to his arm, stomach, kidney, and liver.

Following protests which arose as a result of the shooting, an armed militia was formed in Kenosha by former alderman Kevin Mathewson, supposedly aimed at defending the city from overzealous protestors.

Rittenhouse, who according to The Washington Post, openly expressed support for the Blue Lives Matter movement, purchased a firearm and traveled to Kenosha to volunteer as a member of the militia.

The shooting took place after a tense stand-off between members of the militia and protestors at a service station, which ended when 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum was fatally shot by Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse was then pursued by protestors, and the teen eventually shot at them, killing 26-year-old Anthony Huber and wounding 26-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz.

[Source: Youtube]

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