A jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin has found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts he was facing. The verdict reflects the flimsiness of the case against Rittenhouse, the ineptness of the prosecution during the trial, and the courage of the jurors in the face of enormous pressure and clear attempts to intimidate them.
Rittenhouse was standing guard outside a car dealership in Kenosha on August 25 last year during riots that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake. Police did little or nothing to curb the violence and destruction.
When Rittenhouse attempted to stop a crowd from setting a dumpster on fire, he was approached by a volatile, violent Joseph Rosenbaum. That set off the entire chain of events that lead to today’s result.
Rittenhouse was threatened and attacked that night by four convicted felons; a mentally ill pedophile, a car thief and forger, a domestic abuser who had attacked his own grandmother, and a burglar. All of whom were only there that night — if you believe media accounts — to protest a police shooting.
One attacker threatened to kill him and tried to take Rittenhouse’s rifle. One delivered a flying kick as he lay on the ground. Another struck him on the head and neck with a skateboard. The last attacker pointed a gun at him.
Rittenhouse used the AR-15 rifle he was carrying to shoot three of his attackers, killing two.
The trial of the 18-year-old Rittenhouse inevitably became a political football. The bumbling prosecution only succeeded in depicting, almost as well as the defense, that in each of the shootings, Rittenhouse had defended himself from physical threats or additional imminent attacks. Yet the mainstream media slanted and shaded their reports of the testimony, no matter how frustratingly exculpatory it was.
Rittenhouse was portrayed by the MSM and the commentariat as a racist and a white supremacist, despite everyone involved in the incident that night being a white male (other than the recently identified “jump kick man”).
Joy Reid on the #RittenhouseTrial: “This feels like those cases in the 1950s where it was in and out…white male killed someone and they were in and out fast and acquitted.”
Katie Phang then says, if Rittenhouse were black, he would have been murdered in cold blood (by police). pic.twitter.com/aB2CRoVn8I
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 17, 2021
The jury had to weigh not only the evidence, but also the knowledge that if they found Rittenhouse not guilty on some or all of the charges, it could result in more rioting and possibly even personal retaliation for doing their duty as citizens.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has put 500 National Guardsman on standby in anticipation of the verdict. If he’d bothered to do that during the three days of rioting last year, it’s likely that none of this would have ever happened.
Now that Rittenhouse has been acquitted, the question becomes whether the outcome will result in attempts to foment still more violence by those with a vested interest in seeing the teen convicted despite the overwhelming evidence. And while he no longer has any criminal liability, Rittenhouse will almost surely face civil lawsuits from Gaige Grosskreutz and the survivors of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.
Grosskreutz has already filed a suit against the city of Kenosha, the county, and various law enforcement officers. The fact that he was carrying a firearm illegally that night and his testimony during the trial aren’t likely to help him in that effort.