By: Alex Hider
A jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts in connection with an August 2020 shooting that left two men dead amid protests against police brutality.
The jury returned the verdict Friday amid its fourth day of deliberations.
A visibly emotional Rittenhouse collapsed into his chair as the jury’s verdict was read.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he traveled from his home in nearby Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha as protests gripped the city following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse and others armed themselves to protect local businesses from looters and vandals.
Amid demonstrations on Aug. 25, Rittenhouse shot and killed protester Joseph Rosenbaum after a heated exchange. Rittenhouse later fled the scene as a crowd chased him, and he later shot two more protesters, one of them fatally. Police allowed him to leave the scene, but he later turned himself in to authorities.
Jurors ultimately decided that Rittenhouse feared for his life and fired in self-defense as protesters surrounded him.
The prosecution had argued the opposite, claiming that Rittenhouse was the aggressor.
After the jury returned the verdict, protests gathered outside of the Kenosha courthouse. As of 2 p.m. ET, the demonstrations have been peaceful.
Earlier in the week, in a joint statement, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Kenosha Police Department said they saw no reason to pre-emptively close roads or issue a curfew ahead of the verdict.
“Our departments have worked together and made coordinated efforts over the last year to improve response capabilities to large-scale events,” the statement said. “We have also strengthened our existing relationships with State and Federal resources.”