The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Reactions to Rittenhouse verdict

Community weighs in on a controversial jury decision

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Juan Salinas II
campus editor

Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of five charges Nov. 19.

Two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide and two counts of recklessly endangering safety. The verdict has sparked a conversation across the country.

Rittenhouse was walking around with an AR-15 during a racial injustice protest Aug. 25, 2020. He was chased by Joseph Rosenbaum into a car lot. Rittenhouse shot and killed him and ran away from the scene, causing members of the crowd to chase him. Rittenhouse shot two members of the crowd, injuring one.

Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted “Rittenhouse — NOT GUILTY!” Nov. 19 at 12:18 p.m. after the verdict.

NE student Jacqueline Gonzales feels baffled by these types of reactions to the verdict.

“This trial proves white privilege exists and is strong amid the court system,” she said. “If Rittenhouse was a Black boy holding an AR-15, he would’ve been shot.”

In a survey done by Pew Research Center, 87% of Black Americans and 61% of white Americans think the U.S. criminal justice system treats Black people less fairly.

“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,” President Joe Biden said in a press release Nov. 19. “I ran on a promise to bring Americans together because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.”

Wisconsin doesn’t currently have a stand your ground law, which justifies the use of deadly force if necessary. But the state does have self-defense that is defined by federal law.

According to the law, if a person feels there is unlawful interference by someone else, they can threaten or use force to stop or kill them.

“I think this trial says more about our justice system than society,” South student Sophia Rodriguez said. “I’m not surprised, but still disappointed and angry about the outcome.”

The protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Aug. 25, 2020, was due to the aftermath of Jacob Blake, a young Black man that was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop Aug. 23, 2020.
“The justice system works for those it was meant to protect,” SE student Jamea Johnson said. “I am not one of those people.”
Rittenhouse has stated he will destroy the AR-15 he used during the events of the night, and support the Black Lives Matter Movement in recent interviews.
“Did the prosecution rush to charge Kyle Rittenhouse before reviewing all evidence?” board of trustees member Shannon Wood said.
Rittenhouse was arrested Aug. 26, 2020, at his home in Antioch, Illinois, which is 33 minutes away from Kenosha, Wisconsin — the place of the protest.
“The prosecution has a duty to only prosecute cases after considering all evidence, and the prosecutor is required to review all evidence prior to requesting or pursuing charges against a defendant,” Wood said. “The state has endless resources to prosecute, and defendants are often without financial means to defend. The state must take time to review all evidence and provide all evidence to a grand jury, and the grand jury must be provided with all evidence to make a decision upon whether to allow a felony to be filed against a defendant.”
Wood said the prosecution charged Kyle Rittenhouse with murder within 24 hours, before reviewing all evidence, and when a jury was presented with all the evidence in the case, the jury unanimously acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse.

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