The jury acquits American teenage shooter Kyle Rittenhouse in a polarizing murder case | MCU Times

The jury acquits American teenage shooter Kyle Rittenhouse in a polarizing murder case

Rittenhouse, 18, was found not guilty in two counts of murder, one for attempted murder and two for recklessly endangering security.

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A jury on Friday acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges in connection with his fatal shooting of two men and wounding a third with a semi-automatic rifle during chaotic race justice protests in 2020 in Wisconsin, where they determined the teenager was acting in self-defense.

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A 12-man jury found Rittenhouse, now 18, innocent on two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and two counts of reckless endangerment during street protests marred by arson, riots and looting on 25 August 2020 at work. class at Kenosha.

Rittenhouse broke down sobbing after the verdict, which came shortly after the judge warned the courtroom to remain silent or be removed.

The teenager’s lawsuit polarized America and highlighted gaping divisions in American society over contentious issues such as gun rights. Amid a heavy presence of law enforcement officers, several dozen protesters stood along the stairs outside the courthouse after the verdict was read, some with posters in support of Rittenhouse and others expressed disappointment.

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Kyle Rittenhouse is comforted by his lawyer when he was acquitted of all charges at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on November 19, 2021.
Kyle Rittenhouse is comforted by his lawyer when he was acquitted of all charges at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on November 19, 2021. Photo by Sean Krajacic / The Kenosha News via AP / CP, Pool

“The charges against (the) defendant on all counts have been dismissed with prejudice and he has been released from the obligation of his bond,” Judge Bruce Schroeder told the court.

Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and fired a bullet that tore part of the arm of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28.

Schroeder had completed his instructions to jurors on Monday, which included the possibility that they could find him guilty of minor charges if they did not reach a unanimous verdict on several of the original charges, but were not convinced by his self-defense claim.

Wisconsin is among at least 15 states that place a burden on prosecutors to disprove a defendant’s self-defense claim. And there is no “stand your ground” law in Wisconsin. Under such laws, a person does not have to exhaust all other possibilities before resorting to lethal force in self-defense.

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Reaching their verdicts after more than three days of deliberations, the jury struggled with dueling narratives from the defense and prosecution that offered vastly different depictions of the teenager’s actions on the night of the shootings.

The defense claimed that Rittenhouse had repeatedly been attacked and had shot the men in fear for his life. They said he was a civilian teenager who had been in Kenosha to protect private property after several nights of unrest in the town south of Milwaukee.

The lawsuit has revived the nationwide survey of Kenosha, in which black residents say the same problems that led to last year’s unrest still exist.

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The riots followed the police shooting of a black man named Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed from the waist down.

“I do not know how they came to the final conclusion that he is innocent, but that is why African Americans say the whole system is guilty,” said Justin Blake, the man’s uncle. “This must end. We’re here to support Anthony and Jojo and Gaige, and that’s what we’re doing to keep doing.”

President Joe Biden weighed in:

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Prosecutors portrayed Rittenhouse as a ruthless vigilant who provoked the violent encounters and showed no remorse for the men he shot with his AR-15-like rifle. The trial was livestreamed and dissected by cable TV experts daily and unfolded in a time of social and political polarization in the United States. Gun rights are valued by many Americans and are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, even though the nation is experiencing a high degree of gun violence and easy access to firearms.

Here, Rittenhouse is seen leaving the court, sitting behind defense attorney Mark Richards.

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Rittenhouse, who testified that he had no choice but to open fire to protect himself, is considered heroic by some conservatives who advocate for expansive gun rights and consider the shootings justified. Many on the left view Rittenhouse as an alertness and an embodiment of an American gun culture that is out of control.

Protests against racism and police brutality escalated in many U.S. cities following police killings of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis three months before the Kenosha shootings.

The Rittenhouse verdict ended the high-profile U.S. civilian self-defense case since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in Florida in 2013.

When so much of that night in Kenosha was captured on cell phone and surveillance video, there were only a few basic facts disputed. The lawsuit instead focused on whether Rittenhouse acted reasonably to prevent “imminent death or grievous bodily harm,” the requirement to use lethal force under Wisconsin law.

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As columnist Philip Bump writes in the Washington Post: “Juries are part of the American legal system, not its entirety. They are bound by restrictions aimed at justice and the law: the evidence they have seen, the laws they judge. Juries are not experts, but ideally objective citizens who measure the state’s efforts to meet its burden of proof.The question of justice is generally subjective, yet it is not the duty of a jury to answer that question.Reaching justice depends on the whole system, the prosecutors, the judge, defense.

“We should therefore remember that acquittals are not moral judgments. They are a measure of the same concrete elements of a lawsuit, the wording of statutes and what they were allowed to consider. If a jury says the government has not fulfilled its burden of proof, this is an assessment of the government as much as the accused. The accused is judged to be innocent in the charges, not to be innocent. “

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The prosecution, led by Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, tried to paint Rittenhouse as the aggressor, noting that he was the only one who killed anyone that night.

Rittenhouse’s pistol was loaded with 30 cartridges of full metal jacket bullets, which are designed to penetrate their targets. The jury watched a series of graphic videos, including moments after Rittenhouse fired four shots at Rosenbaum, who lay motionless, bleeding and moaning. Second video showed Grosskreutz screaming as blood gushed from his arm.

Rittenhouse testified in his own defense last Wednesday at the most dramatic moment of the trial – a risky decision by his lawyers given his youth and the prospect of a harsh prosecution of cross-examination. Rittenhouse broke down sobbing at one point, but stressed that he only shot at the men after being attacked.

People are reacting to the verdict in the lawsuit against Kyle Rittenhouse, outside the Kenosha County Courthouse.  REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein
People are reacting to the verdict in the lawsuit against Kyle Rittenhouse, outside the Kenosha County Courthouse. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein

“I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me,” he said.

Rittenhouse testified that he shot Huber after hitting him with a skateboard and pulling at his weapon. He said he fired at Grosskreutz after the man aimed the gun he was carrying at the teenager – a claim Grosskreutz admitted during questioning by the defense. Rittenhouse testified that he shot Rosenbaum after the man chased him and grabbed his gun.

– with further reporting from The Washington Post

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