After roughly 23 hours of deliberation, a jury on Friday found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts – an outcome progressives viewed as emblematic of systemic racism.
America has been waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the case, which has become an encapsulation of culture war tensions surrounding race, the media and guns.
18-year-old Rittenhouse faced five charges – including two homicide counts and one attempted homicide count – related to his actions during a violent racial justice demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Aug. 25 of last year.
- As a precaution against civil unrest, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers deployed 500 National Guard to the Kenosha area Monday.
- Earlier this week, business owners in Kenosha expressed concerns about crime and vandalism in the wake of the verdict, fearing a repeat of last year’s violent protests over the death of Jacob Blake.
- “Protesting is OK, but rioting and creating mass destruction to your town or an outsider coming into your town, it does not prove a single thing. It doesn’t help,” Scott Carpenter, owner of B&L Office Furniture, told NBC News.
Passions raged on social media, with conservatives predicting riots. Meanwhile, liberals were broadly in agreement that the acquittal signified a victory for “white supremacy.”
MSNBC host Joy Reid:
Chicago mayoral candidate Amara Enyia:
Community organizer Gregory Jackson:
Feminist journalist Helena Wadia:
Rashad Robinson, president of the progressive non-profit Color of Change:
LGBT advocate Kurt Thigpen:
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis.:
Progressive journalist Alex Berg:
WHAT HAPPENS NOW
Judge Bruce Schroeder told members of the jury they were under no obligation to speak to give interviews to the press.