by Robin Kemp
Kyle Rittenhouse is a free man.
Jurors found Rittenhouse, the teenager who shot three men and killed two during protests in Kenosha, not guilty on all five counts.
Rittenhouse, now 18, broke down and wept as the verdicts were read, then collapsed. He could have faced up to life in prison.
He was charged with:
- COUNT 1: first-degree reckless homicide/use of a dangerous weapon
- COUNT 2: first-degree recklessly endangering safety/use of a dangerous weapon
- COUNT 3: first degree recklessly endangering safety/use of a dangerous weapon
- COUNT 4: first-degree intentional homicide/use of a dangerous weapon
- COUNT 5: attempted first-degree intentional homicide/use of a dangerous weapon
Rittenhouse’s attorneys had argued their client was acting in self-defense.
Outsiden the courthouse, community leaders called for the Justice Department to look into alleged “violations” during the trial. Supporters of Rittenhouse shouted, “The Second Amendment is still alive!”
GQ Magazine did extensive reporting into Rittenhouse’s decisions and the people he came in contact with that night. That story explains how Rittenhouse came to own an AR-15-style rifle (note: the rifle is not “automatic” nor an AR-15, which is a fully-automatic military-issue rifle).
Rittenhouse’s sister’s boyfriend, Dominic Black, acted as a straw purchaser, using money Rittenhouse gave him to buy the rifle in Wisconsin, then keeping the rifle but letting him use it until he turned 18. (Rittenhouse lives in Illinois, which has different gun laws.) Black now faces two counts of intentionally giving a dangerous weapon to a person under 18, causing death. His trial was put on hold until Rittenhouse’s trial ended.
While one tenet of responsible gun ownership is to avoid placing oneself in situations that might require the use of deadly force, Rittenhouse was not charged with arguably poor decision-making. All that jurors had to determine was whether Rittenhouse acted in self-defense.