Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty

Kenosha Protest Shootings
Kyle Rittenhouse, center, waits for the judge before the jury is relieved for the day during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty for the shooting and killing of two men, and the injuring of a third, by a Wisconsin jury. After a long 4 days and 25+ hours of deliberation, the jury returned to the Kenosha courthouse today to read out their verdict.

Rittenhouse, now aged 18 (was 17 at the time of the events), faced the chares of first-degree reckless homicide, 2 counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 2 counts of reckless endangerment of safety after shooting and killing two men in August 2020 during police brutality protests. The trial has been quite polarizing for many in the U.S. with Rittenhouse being seen has both a violent vigilante and a young person forced into a position of self-defense. For some, Rittenhouse is even seen to be as important as a hero or a villain in what has been a polarizing 2 years in America when the sprawling effects of COVID-19 and racial justice have been at the forefront of political conversation.

The prosecution painted Rittenhouse as an instigator who traveled to Kenosha looking for trouble, killing without remorse. The defense portrayed him as a community-minded young man who was forced to kill in self-defense. The four days of deliberation were met with tense scenes both in and out of the courtroom. People actively showed up to support both a conviction and an acquittal. At times, the two sides got heated which eventually turned into shouting matches. 2 individuals were arrested for disorderly conduct.

Anticipating civil unrest following the verdict, Wisconsin governor Tony Evers has asked for 500 National Guard troops to remain on standby in Kenosha.