The young American Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot dead two people and injured a third on the sidelines of anti-racist protests in August 2020 in Kenosha, was acquitted on Friday, November 19 after a well-attended trial in the United States.
Read alsoRittenhouse trial: two enemy Americas on trial
Twelve jurors in a Wisconsin state court declared him "
" of the five charges against him, including murders, on the fourth day of their deliberations. The 18-year-old white man, who faced life imprisonment, had pleaded self-defense. Upon reading the verdict, he broke down in tears before quickly leaving the courtroom.
His trial exposed American society's fractures over guns, the right to self-defense, and the anti-racist movement Black Lives Matter (Black Lives Matter), and the verdict has, unsurprisingly, prompted backlash from others. antipodes.
New York Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted a “
denial of justice
”, while Republican Congresswoman Mary Miller tweeted: “
God bless America
To avoid possible overflows, the governor of Wisconsin has asked 500 National Guard soldiers to stand ready to intervene in Kenosha.
I just defended myself
On August 23, 2020, this city in the Great Lakes region was set on fire after a police blunder against an African-American. Then aged 17, Kyle Rittenhouse had equipped himself with a semi-automatic rifle and had joined armed groups who had come to “
” the businesses. Under confusing circumstances, he opened fire, killing two men and wounding a third.
I did nothing wrong, I just defended myself
", he pleaded, in tears, during his trial, assuring to have fired after being chased and attacked by these three men - all white like him. The accused was "
a tourist of chaos
" who "
" and "
voluntarily and knowingly put himself in a dangerous situation
", retorted prosecutor Thomas Binger in his indictment. Kyle Rittenhouse appeared free, supporters having paid the $ 2 million bail. The young man has indeed become a muse in certain right-wing circles for whom the great mobilization against police violence in the summer of 2020 was the work of"
" or "
Read alsoTwo anti-racist protesters killed in Kenosha: the trial opens in the United States
Conversely, on the left, he embodies the excesses of the culture of arms and the right to self-defense.
On Twitter, the Black Lives Matter movement stressed that it was not surprised by the verdict.
The system works exactly as it's supposed to ... to protect white supremacy
It illustrates the urgent need for reform of the justice system and of our broken penal system,
" added Shaadie Ali, a representative of the powerful civil rights organization ACLU.