Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty of murder

Kenosha, Wisconsin — A Kenosha County jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges against him on Friday, finding the teenage gunman acted in self-defense when he fatally shot two men and injured a third.

Kyle Rittenhouse closed his eyes and cried as he was found not guilty on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Friday.
Kyle Rittenhouse closed his eyes and cried as he was found not guilty on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Friday.  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

The verdict will add, perhaps, the final chapter to a criminal case that deeply divided a country already polarized on issues such as gun rights, policing, and racial equity.

Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz while ostensibly guarding a used car lot with an AR-15-style rifle in downtown Kenosha on August 25, 2020.

All four men were in the southeast Wisconsin town amid social unrest following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white police officer.

The Kenosha County jury deliberated for more than 25 hours over four days before reaching a decision. The predominantly white panel included 7 women and 5 men, who listened to eight days of testimony over two weeks.

Despite the public fervor surrounding the case, the trial has focused on a straightforward self-defense argument in which jurors were asked to decide whether Rittenhouse believed his life to be in danger when he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz. If the answer was "yes," then they had to decide whether the belief was reasonable.

Though the judge gave jurors instructions to put aside political tensions surrounding the case, several members indicated during the selection process that they worried a verdict would only stoke anger.

Indeed, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers activated 500 National Guard members and sent them to Kenosha in anticipation of the trial’s conclusion on Tuesday.

Several law enforcement agencies also are on heightened alert, including the Chicago Police Department, which recently cancelled days off as the officer’s union said it was bracing for the trial’s conclusion.

Judge Bruce Schroeder (r.), who has become known for raising eyebrows during the trial, listened as the verdicts were read by Judicial Assistant Tami Mielcarek (l.) in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Friday.
Judge Bruce Schroeder (r.), who has become known for raising eyebrows during the trial, listened as the verdicts were read by Judicial Assistant Tami Mielcarek (l.) in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Friday.  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Rittenhouse can still be sued in civil court by the victims' families.

Cover photo: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

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