The American Civil Liberties Union weighed in on the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse Friday afternoon, arguing in a series of tweets that the verdict represents an “outrageous failure” to protect “protesters” and that the defendant was “not held responsible for his actions,” despite the jury determining that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. The group said the decision was “not surprising,” seemingly questioning the jury system and due process as a whole.
“This situation represents an outrageous failure to protect protesters by the Kenosha Police Department and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office,” the group that claims to defend individual freedoms outlined in the United States Constitution tweeted.
On the night of August 25, 2020, rioters set fires throughout Kenosha as part of Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Rittenhouse, who works in the Wisconsin city and whose family lives there, joined several others to defend private property against the violent rioters.
Throughout the evening, Rittenhouse was attacked by multiple rioters. The then 17-year-old shot his attackers, killing two in acts of self-defense.
“Months of research and open records requests have uncovered many incidents in which police encouraged white militia members to become armed vigilantes in the street due to their failure to control the crowd,” the ACLU claimed.
“Despite Kyle Rittenhouse’s conscious decision to travel across state lines and injure one person and take the lives of two people protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake by police, he was not held responsible for his actions,” the group continued. “Unfortunately, this is not surprising.”
The ACLU went on to claim that the trial’s outcome is indicative of the role “white supremacy” plays in the justice system.
“It is far too easy to overlook the impact that violence in defense of white supremacy has on the Black and Brown communities,” the group tweeted.
The ACLU continued to claim that the riots on Aug. 25 last year were simply protests, despite reports that the damage caused by the demonstrations topped $11 million.
“No one should be targeted, threatened, or attacked for exercising our First Amendment right to protest,” the group continued. “It is our right to protest and demand justice. We’ll be watching to ensure no one — including law enforcement — interferes with that right.”
“And as we reimagine public safety, we need to create solutions that extend that safety to all communities — including those that have been systematically neglected and preyed upon,” the ACLU concluded.
The First Amendment right to protest, as referenced by the ACLU, specifically notes that Americans have the right to “peaceably” assemble.
The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”