HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Kyle Rittenhouse has been absolved of murder in the fatal shooting of two men during racial justice protests in Kenosha
  • In the protest, Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and fired a bullet that tore a chunk off the arm of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28
  • The defence team argued and stated that Rittenhouse had been repeatedly attacked and shot the men in fear for his life
  • Huber’s parents, Karen Bloom and John Huber are heartbroken by the verdict

The US decision to absolve its teenage citizen Kyle Rittenhouse of murder in the fatal shooting of two men during racial justice protests in Kenosha has sparked fierce debate about gun rights, racial injustice, and the boundaries of self-defence in the US. Kyle was found not guilty on all charges by jurors. However, if found guilty, the teenager would have been handed life in prison on the most serious charge.

Talking to the media, David Hancock, a spokesperson for the Rittenhouse family expressed joy and said they were happy for Kyle. “In the entire scenario, there are no winners, there are two people who lost their lives and that’s not lost on us at all,” David added. In the incident last year on August 25, Kyle had travelled to Kenosha, about 32 kilometres from his home in Antioch, Illinois to protest after a White police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man. In the protest, Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and fired a bullet that tore a chunk off the arm of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28. Rittenhouse claimed self-defence.

Sources said that Kyle’s gun was loaded with 30 rounds of full metal jacket bullets, which are designed to penetrate their target. The violence was captured on mobile phones and surveillance video included the moments after Rittenhouse fired four rounds into Rosenbaum, who lay motionless. Kyle accepted that he shot Huber after he had struck him with a skateboard and pulled on his weapon. He said he fired on Grosskreutz after the man pointed the pistol he was carrying at him.

The defence team argued and stated that Rittenhouse had been repeatedly attacked and shot the men in fear for his life. Rittenhouse was portrayed by the prosecution as a reckless vigilante who provoked the violent encounters and showed no remorse for the men he shot with his AR-15-style rifle.

Meanwhile, Huber’s parents, Karen Bloom and John Huber were heartbroken by the verdict. The verdict was greeted with outrage by many on the political left and celebrated by gun-rights supporters. The civil rights leader Rev Jesse Jackson said the verdict throws into doubt the safety of people who protest in support of Black Americans.

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