On Aug. 25, 2021, Black Lives Matter protests broke out in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the midst of political uproar in the United States. According to AP News, 17-year-old male Kyle Rittenhouse appeared at the protests with an AR-15, where he then fatally shot two men and wounded another.
Three months later, Kyle Rittenhouse has since gone through his trial and was found not guilty on all charges.
The 17-year-old argued that he fired in self-defense after the men attacked him, as he faced multiple counts of criminal charges.
The first felony charge was in connection to the death of Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man Rittenhouse shot. The video introduced at trial shows Rittenhouse wheeling around and firing as Rosenbaum chased him. Richie McGinniss, a reporter trailing Rittenhouse, testified that Rosenbaum lunged for Rittenhouse’s gun.
Other charges included Reckless Use of a Weapon, First-Degree Intentional Homicide, Possession of a Dangerous Weapon, and more. Rittenhouse was cleared of all charges and walked away as not guilty on more than five criminal charges.
After 27 hours of deliberation, over four days, a jury declared Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty, and as previously stated, he was acquitted on all charges.
In a case that fueled debates over gun rights and vigilantism, the outcome of this trial has received much traction on social media.
Important societal figures have spoken out including California’s governor Gavin Newsom saying, “The verdict served as a message to armed vigilantes that you can break the law, carry around weapons built for the military, shoot and kill people, and get away with it.”
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin also spoke out saying, “Justice was served.”
Outside the courtroom, many Americans held signs of the deceased individuals and pleaded for a better outcome. While others took to social media, allowing praise for Rittenhouse’s acquittal.
Overall, more debates of racism, gun violence, and corrupt justice systems are underway in the media world following the recent news of Rittenhouse’s trial.