At the end of the third day of the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse case, no verdict was issued.
While no one can listen to the deliberations of the jury members, the context in which it happened will almost certainly affect their environment – if not their reasoning.
In the midst of the protests, about 30 protesters stood on the steps outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, eager for a conviction. About 10 protesters, who said Rittenhouse was innocent, also opposed them.
“We will not be intimidated,” protesters against Rittenhouse shouted to counter-protesters, whom they outnumbered nearly three times. The media were likely to outnumber both sides.
Both sides made up for the room shortage with megaphones, but Black Lives Matter protesters and other left-wing groups used impressively loud, organized chants.
At times the chant “No justice, no peace” echoed around the neighborhoods. Other mainstream protest chants also appeared.
Although the words themselves were not fully audible on the third floor of the courthouse, the rhythm was the same used in countless similar protests across the country. Anyone familiar with any protest of 2020 knows these words.
According to several local Kenosha residents, the Rittenhouse trial is a talk in the city.
“I don’t even want to listen to the news anymore,” said Nigerian Lyft driver Kehinde, a resident of Kenosha. “I’m just tired, I don’t want people to burn anything.”
While Kenoshans disagreed over Rittenhouse’s guilt or innocence, everyone The Epoch Times spoke to feared another fiery reoccurrence of the riots that followed Jacob Blake’s death.
Even a year and several months after the riots, many buildings burned down by the rioters were never rebuilt. Claims that business owners have insurance may be true in some cases, but empty lots and boarded up windows suggest a different reality.
Schools outside and outside the courthouse have closed in anticipation of a new wave of unrest, local residents said.
“If we don’t get it, turn it off,” protesters chanted outside the courthouse. But even their responses about what they are planning to shut down sound unconvincing.
“We’ll close it all,” said the man who started the chant. “The justice system, this whole system.”
People on either side of the crowd of protesters said they did not plan the violence and were there only for justice.
“I don’t know what everyone else is going to do. We will try to keep the peace, ”said Cleveland Barrett, commander of the Royal Black Panther Party in Chicago. He was wearing a magnificent uniform with a beret.
According to his private Facebook page, Barrett’s party has 465 members.
Caroline Ruff, founder of Black Lives Matter Women of Faith, agreed that she wanted peace. Black lives matter, she said. Women of faith are a different group from black life.
“If you take part in a protest to burn down your community, you are only harming your community,” she said.
But other protesters waved flags that read “Revolution / nothing less!” On the drum that the protesters beat, there were stickers that read: “This system cannot be reformed – it must be overthrown!”
A poster in the hands of protesters describes the burning of Kenosha as a “beautiful uprising.” Peace leaders stood on the steps ten feet away.
Even the leaders seemed completely unaware of the Rittenhouse case.
“What I could see on the video, no, he was chasing them,” Raff said. This statement was false.
The video clearly shows Rittenhouse fleeing a crowd of rebels before falling and being attacked. He fired when he was loaded and lay on the ground.
Bishop Tavis Grant, with the Rainbow Push Coalition founded by the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., falsely claimed that Rittenhouse was the only one to go out with a gun during the incident.
Regardless of the facts or arguments of the counter-protesters, the protesters on the steps continued to call Rittenhouse a murderer.
In this atmosphere of tension and misinformation, the reporter had already tried to follow the bus that the jury had left on. Police said they suspect him of trying to photograph the jury.
Also, fights have already begun near the courthouse.
Until the jury makes its decision, Kenoshi will not have “peace and justice.” But most of all, a ruined city may need mercy.