Former NBA player Kwame Brown took to social media to defend Kyle Rittenhouse after the 18-year-old was found not guilty of murder and reckless endangerment after he fatally shot two men and injured a third in self-defense during an August 2020 riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
On the same day the jury found Rittenhouse not guilty, Brown posted a 27-minute video in which he discussed Rittenhouse’s case, as well as a separate trial for the February 2020 killing of a black man, Ahmaud Arbery. Brown said he agreed with Rittenhouse’s claims of self-defense and said people are being paid to post “racist shit” about Rittenhouse.
On Aug. 25, 2020, Rittenhouse joined a group of armed citizens defending a trio of car dealerships amid ongoing riots in the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin following the police shooting of a black man named Jacob Blake. Throughout the night, Rittenhouse put out fires started at and around the dealerships and offered first aid to people in the crowds on the streets that night. Rittenhouse was armed with an AR-15 style rifle that night.
While Rittenhouse went to put out a fire at one of the dealerships, a man by the name of Joseph Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse through the used-car lot, threw a bag at him and eventually caught up to Rittenhouse and reached for his rifle. As Rosenbaum reached for the rifle, Rittenhouse shot four times, killing his pursuer.
In the moments after shooting Rosenbaum, members of the crowd began chasing after Rittenhouse who ran in the direction of a nearby police line. As he ran towards police, multiple pursuers attacked Rittenhouse and he fell to the ground. After falling to the ground, a man, Anthony Huber, swung a skateboard at Rittenhouse’s head and grabbed for the rifle before Rittenhouse fired another shot, fatally wounding Huber.
After that point, a third individual, Gaige Grosskreutz, approached Rittenhouse and pointed a handgun at him as Rittenhouse sat up from the ground. As Grosskreutz pointed his handgun at Rittenhouse, Rittenhouse fired, wounding Grosskreutz in the arm.
Rittenhouse claimed self-defense in the shooting incidents, but he was ultimately charged with first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under the age of 18. The latter charge was dropped before the jury was tasked with rendering a verdict.
In his Nov. 19 video, Brown said, Rittenhouse’s actions “looked like self-defense, the court’s found it as self-defense.”
“The only bad thing is that [Rittenhouse] had to sit in jail for so long,” Brown added. “Because they made something political that shouldn’t have been political.”
In his video, Brown also shared his view that Arbery deserved justice after he was killed. Brown argued people should be focused on seeking justice for Arbery, rather than being upset at Rittenhouse or trying to make Rittenhouse’s case about a larger national discussion on issues of race.
“Instead of that, we want to tie it into something black,” Brown said. “We want to tie it into something bigger so we can have people come out and march and get checks off a little teenager’s back, and that, to me, is corny. Trying to use something off of teenagers, trying to use a situation for political gain, that to me is corny.”
“Everything ain’t political, okay? A lot of stuff is, but everything ain’t political,” Brown continued. “A bunch of people are getting paid to push this racist shit. That’s all it is.”
Brown also said some “racists” are “mad because the person who defended themselves was white.”
“For you to look at self-defense through a lens of color, you’re a jackass, in my opinion,” Brown said. “Self-defense is self-defense, period, point-blank.”