NEW YORK (AP) – Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted of charges of killing two men and injuring another during the riots that followed the shooting of a black man by a white police officer, said in a comprehensive interview that was posted Monday night he is “not a racist person” and supports the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This case has nothing to do with race. It has never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defense,” 18-year-old Fox News host Tucker Carlson said in an interview aired Monday night. Rittenhouse is white, just like the men he shot.
Rittenhouse was 17 last year when he traveled 20 miles (32 kilometers) from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which was filled with protests in the wake of the August 23 shooting on Jacob Blake. This shooting and the reaction in Kenosha – protests that became destructive – became part of the national inventory of police use of force against blacks after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May before in the hands of the police.
Rittenhouse, armed with an AR-like semi-automatic rifle, joined others who said they intended to protect private property from potential damage on 25 August. During his trial, prosecutors claimed the teenager was a “wannabe soldier” who went looking for trouble that night. Rittenhouse countered that he shot in self-defense after being attacked and in fear for his life.
“I thought they came to the correct verdict because it was not Kyle Rittenhouse who stood trial in Wisconsin – it was the right to self-defense during the trial,” Rittenhouse said in the interview. “And if I were convicted … no one would ever be privileged to defend their lives against attackers.”
He said some people, including some who have made threats against him, are “too ignorant to look at the facts.”
The shootings quickly turned Rittenhouse into a rallying cry for supporters of Second Amendment rights and those angry over the sometimes violent protests seen in some U.S. cities after Floyd’s death.
Rittenhouse was photographed in a pre-trial bar with apparently members of the far-right Proud Boys. Rittenhouse’s lawyers have said he is not a white supremacy.
“I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement, I support peaceful demonstration,” Rittenhouse told Carlson. , saying, “I have really good lawyers taking care of it right now.”
He also slammed his former lawyers, John Pierce and Lin Wood, who he said used him to advance a “case” when they raised $ 2 million for his bail.
When asked about it over the weekend, Pierce said he had no comments. Wood told The Associated Press that the fund he heads, the Fightback Foundation, raised money for Rittenhouse’s bail and publicly said the matter was a matter of second amendment.
“I was not a lawyer pushing for a case,” Wood said. “Fightback has a mission that includes the right to bear arms and self-defense.”
Rittenhouse told Carlson he wished the Kenosha shootings “would never have happened.”
“But it did, and we can not change that. But how polarized it became is completely sick, like right or left, people using me for a cause that should never have been used as a cause. ”
Rittenhouse said his life is different from what he had planned. He said he takes the university’s prerequisites to become a nurse and hopes to study on campus, but now he is also thinking about studying law. He plans to move from the Midwest, but is not quite sure where he wants to go.
“I want to lie down and live my life and enjoy it,” he said.
A jury on Friday found Rittenhouse innocent on charges of murder, attempted murder and reckless endangerment of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded by Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28.
Find the AP’s full coverage of the lawsuit against Kyle Rittenhouse at: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse
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