KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Kyle Rittenhouse has been acquitted of all charges after pleading self-defense in the deadly Kenosha, Wisconsin, shootings that became a flashpoint in the nation’s debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice.
The jury came back with a decision after close to 3 1/2 days of deliberations.
He was charged with homicide, attempted homicide and recklessly endangering safety for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle.
The shootings took place during a night of protests over police violence against Black people in the tumultuous summer of 2020.
Rittenhouse is white, as were those he shot.
The jury appeared to be overwhelmingly white.
Jurors listened to two weeks of dueling portrayals of Rittenhouse.
Prosecutors say he was a “wannabe soldier” who brought a semi-automatic rifle to a racial justice protest and instigated the bloodshed.
Rittenhouse claimed he shot three men, two fatally, in self-defense during a 2020 protest. Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, were shot and killed, while 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz was wounded.
Huber’s parents, Karen Bloom and John Huber, said they’re “heartbroken and angry” by the acquittal.
“Today’s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son,” they said in a statement. “It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street.”
Even as the jury weighed the evidence, two mistrial requests from the defense hung over the case, with the potential to upend the verdict if the panel were to convict Rittenhouse.
One of those requests asks the judge to go even further and bar prosecutors from retrying him.
In their mistrial bid, Rittenhouse’s lawyers complained that they were given an inferior copy of a potentially crucial video and that a prosecutor asked Rittenhouse improper questions during cross-examination about material not admitted into evidence and about his exercising of his constitutional right to remain silent.