Protests erupted in several US cities on November 19 after a jury dropped all charges against Kyle Rittenhouse in connection with the shooting of three people during last year’s Kenosha riots.
People took to the streets in Chicago, New York, Oakland, Portland and other cities to voice their dissatisfaction with the verdict.
Video posted on social media showed a large crowd marching in Brooklyn, chanting “Say his name: George Floyd”, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, arrested by the police.
Police declared a riot in Portland after a group of protesters damaged property and threw items at the police.
A few dozens protesters gathered at the Federal Plaza in Chicago, holding signs that read “Reject Racist Vigilante Terror” and “Kyle Will Kill Again!” The footage posted on social media shows the group marching down a Chicago street chanting, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! And if we don’t get it? Close it! “
Another video posted social media showed police building a barricade on a Chicago street, with protesters gathering nearby. There were also marauder reports aimed at a Neiman Marcus store in Chicago, and footage was posted on social media showing several patrol cars at the scene.
Denver protesters took to the streetswaving flags and chanting: “[Expletive] Kyle Rittenhouse “.
The demonstrations began after a jury of seven women and five men found Rittenhouse, accused of killing two men on the night of riots and protests last year, innocent of all five counts Friday afternoon. The most serious charge, premeditated murder in the first degree, would carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Rittenhouse shot three men in Kenosha on August 25, 2020. The first man, 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, stepped on him. Rosenbaum’s hand was above the barrel of the rifle that Rittenhouse was holding, according to expert testimony during the trial. The closest witness said that Rosenbaum rushed for the weapon.
Rittenhouse rushed towards law enforcement officers, but was attacked by several people, including 26-year-old Anthony Huber, who hit Rittenhouse in the head with a skateboard. Then Rittenhouse shot Huber.
The third man to be shot, Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28, testified that he was pointing a pistol at Rittenhouse when he was shot.
Rosenbaum and Huber died of their wounds. Grosskreutz survived with a gunshot wound to his right bicep.
Defense lawyers and Rittenhouse said all three shootings were in self-defense. Prosecutors said that Rittenhouse had shown negligence and recklessness in handling weapons and had to surrender to those who attacked him.
After the jury found Rittenhouse innocent, Kenosha remained peaceful, although the reaction outside the courthouse was mixed. A demonstration in Kenosha is scheduled for Sunday.
Gun rights organizations and Rittenhouse supporters marked the acquittal as a major victory, while opponents condemned the verdict as evidence of alleged racial bias in the criminal system.
Republican MPs approved the jury’s decision, while Democrats condemned its outcome.
“I believe that justice was done in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse,” Senator Ron Johnson (Rhode Wisconsin) said in a statement.
Rep. Andy Levine, a Democrat from Michigan, said he believed the shooting was unfounded.
“Seriously disappointed but not surprised by Rittenhouse’s verdict. Lack of common sense in gun laws and systemic racism embedded in legal proceedings allowed him to kill two innocent people who peacefully protested for black lives. Now he can walk freely, ”he said.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the Biden administration had contacted local law enforcement in Kenosha about possible unrest after the verdict.
President Joe Biden on Friday asked Americans to peacefully voice their opinion following an acquittal.
“While the Kenosha verdict will leave many Americans angry and worried, myself included, we have to admit that the jury has spoken out,” Biden said.
“I encourage everyone to express their views peacefully, in accordance with the principles of the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy, ”he added.
Jackson Elliott and Zachary Steeber contributed to this report.