Militia kid Kyle Rittenhouse is a free man, as a jury acquitted him of all charges after deliberating for three and a half days.
The post-George Floyd demonstrations of the summer of 2020 continue to reverberate today, and one wound was just reopened pretty badly. After an eight-day trial that gripped the nation, plus add in some highly unusual behavior by the judge, the Associated Press reports that 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse has been acquitted of all charges in his August 2020 shooting that killed 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber, and wounded another demonstrator Gaige Grosskreutz.
The incident came in the wake of the August 23, 2020 shooting of Jacob Blake, shot by police seven times after already having been tased. That set off four nights of demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin, bringing a then 17-year-old Rittenhouse to Kenosha to play bad cop with an illegally purchased AR-style semi-automatic rifle.
Rittenhouse had been charged with first-degree homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangerment. Had he been found guilty of the first-degree homicide charge, he could have been sentenced to life in prison.
But that requires proof beyond reasonable doubt that Rittenhouse had intended to kill people, a high burden of proof that the mostly-white jury apparently did not feel the prosecution met. There are additional complexities of self-defense law in Wisconsin that worked to Rittenhouse’s advantage.
So Kyle Rittenhouse is now a free man (teenager), though the victims’ families could still theoretically sue for monetary damages in a civil suit. And that may not be a problem for Rittenhouse, who’s likely got a talk show, book deal, or other forms of lucrative conservative celebrity circuit offers blowing his phone as we speak.
Related: Facebook Gets Heat For Not Removing ‘Kenosha Guard’ Militia Page Before Shootings [SFist]
KENOSHA, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 18: Kyle Rittenhouse speaks with his attorneys before the jury is relieved for the evening during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 18, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three demonstrators, killing two of them, during a night of unrest that erupted in Kenosha after a police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back while being arrested in August 2020. Rittenhouse, from Antioch, Illinois, was 17 at the time of the shooting and armed with an assault rifle. He faces counts of felony homicide and felony attempted homicide. (Photo by Sean Krajacic - Pool/Getty Images)