A crowd gathered outside the Kenosha, Wisconsin, courthouse erupted in cheers on Friday when the jury for the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted the defendant of all charges after more than 24 hours of deliberations over four days.
“The Second Amendment stands! Constitutional law!” a member of the crowd is heard yelling.
“The Constitution is the law in this country. If you don’t like it, leave and never come back!” another shouts into a microphone connected to a speaker.
On August 25, 2020, the then 17-year-old armed with an AR-15 rifle shot multiple rioters that attacked him, killing two and wounding one. Rittenhouse maintained that he was acting in self-defense while facing five felony charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
He was jailed for two months in fall 2020 before posting $2 million bail thanks to a crowdfunding effort.
Not everyone outside the courthouse was happy with the acquittal. MSNBC, which was kicked out of the courtroom after one of its reporters was caught following the jury bus Thursday evening, interviewed one displeased observer immediately following the verdict.
“My reaction was both sadness, heartbreak, um, and unfortunately not surprised,” the individual said. “Knowing the history of vigilante justice in this country, all the way back to times of enslavement when people would be deputized to go out and track down enslaved persons who ran away, to lynching mobs. And this is 2021, and unfortunately, heartbreak, sadness, but I wasn’t surprised.”
Elsewhere, reactions to the acquittal were divided. On Twitter, Arizona lawmaker Wendy Rogers shared an edited video to make it appear as though a massive crowd was cheering the “not guilty” verdict.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, on the other hand, condemned the verdict as a “dark day.”
“This is a dark day for our justice system. As a lawyer, I respect jury verdicts,” she wrote. “But this is yet another reminder that our system needs to be uprooted and reformed.”
Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield reported that when Rittenhouse was asked to appear on his program after the acquittal, the young man responded, “I just want to go home and sleep.”
“‘I just want to go home and sleep.’ That from Kyle Rittenhouse when asked if he can come on my @newsmax show tonight. I hope he has his first good deep sleep since this all started. God Bless Kyle and the jury!!! #KyleRittenhouseTrial.”
The Second Amendment states: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.