Kyle Rittenhouse has been declared not guilty of murdering two men and assaulting another by a 12-person jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The jury cleared him on all five charges. He claimed the August 25, 2020 shootings were actions in self-defense, which is now a legal truth.
Judge Schroeder convened court shortly after noon and called for the jury to come down and report their verdict. He then warned the assembled audience in court that no displays regarding their opinions of the verdict would be permitted.
Juror number 54, the elected forewoman, gave a sheaf of verdict papers to the judge who quickly leafed through them and had Kyle Rittenhouse stand and face the jury “and harken to its verdicts.” It was “not guilty” all down the line, to each and every charge. Rittenhouse broke down in tears and seemed to collapse with emotion as the verdict was read aloud. A short time later, Rittenhouse was whisked out of the courtroom by a Kenosha Sheriff’s deputy.
After the delivery of the verdict, the judge had very kind words for the jury:
Without commenting on your verdict or the verdicts themselves, just in terms of your attentiveness and the cooperation that you gave to us, justifies the confidence that the founders of our country placed in you.
Judge Schroeder said he would address juror security concerns after the open court session concluded and joked that they would be eligible again for jury service in another four years. He instructed jurors they could speak with media or not, at their choosing, and that if the press harassed them, to let the court know. Then in a show of respect, he stood while they exited the courtroom. Prosecutor Binger said simply that the “jury … has spoken,” and the judge ordered the release of Rittenhouse’s bond.
Rittenhouse was in Kenosha amid the chaos of days of looting and arson after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The verdict will be no surprise to those who saw any of the many videos of the incident, as Rittenhouse only fired while undergoing physical attacks and did not fire upon anyone who wasn’t presently attacking him.
For those who learned about the events through legacy media, however, the facts of the case quickly became irrelevant. President Biden implied Rittenhouse was a white supremacist in a campaign video, and major media outlets to this day report he “opened fire” at protesters, indicating he shot indiscriminately. The case became another in a string of stories selectively told to advance a political narrative.
Now Kenosha and other cities brace for more riots as people – who have been told for over a year that only a corrupt system would produce an acquittal – react to the verdict. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Friday that approximately 500 Wisconsin Army National Guard troops had been authorized to support authorities to quell suspected violent reaction to the verdict. Anne Benson, a Kenosha business owner, welcomed the troops’ presence and said of the 2020 riots, “It was like you were going through a war zone.”
Earlier in the trial, Mr. Binger said Wisconsin law and professional obligations meant he would not comment on the verdict publicly. Now the only question is whether Kenosha will burn as one widely misinformed section of the public demonstrates its displeasure with the outcome.
~ Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.