Protests broke out in New York and other major US cities on Friday and Saturday following the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse. In August 2020, the then 17-year-old Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin shot and killed two rioters against police brutality.
Rittenhouse stayed on Friday acquitted by the jury. The case, which concerned the events of last year, sparked a lot of comment and divided the public. Rittenhouse was charged with five counts – two homicides, one attempted homicide by injuring a third person, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety during anti-police protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The riots ensued after the shooting by the police of 29-year-old black Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse went to Kenosha from Illinois to – as he argued – protect entrepreneurs from participants in the events. When he aimed the rifle at the protesters, they started chasing him. When one of them, Joseph Rosenbaum, was close, the 17-year-old fired three shots, killing him. In the ensuing clashes, he killed another man and wounded another. He claims he was acting in self-defense.
Protests and arrests
In New York, hundreds of demonstrators marched across the Brooklyn Bridge following the sentencing, blocking traffic.
“At one point, protesters knelt down and honored a moment of silence in the memory of 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber, who were fatally shot by Rittenhouse,” Fox News reported.
The station added that at least five people in Queens have been arrested for property damage.
“The NYPD (New York Police Department) takes seriously its responsibility to protect the peaceful rights of demonstrators under the 1st Amendment (constitutional). Equally important is the safety of New Yorkers and the protection of property from people breaking the law in the name of protest,” the NYPD tweeted.
In Portland, Oregon, Fox News reports that a printing shop window was smashed, a police vehicle was destroyed, and a downtown police station was devastated. One person was arrested, five were fined and 17 warnings issued.
In Chicago, there was shoplifting after demonstrators took to the streets on Friday night. However, the police did not confirm whether the thefts were related to the demonstrations. An investigation is ongoing, but so far no one has been arrested.
According to FOX 2 San Francisco, about 100 people in Oakland, Northern California, participated in a peaceful protest in the city center. Some demonstrators carried plaques saying Rittenhouse was “guilty.” They called on the Ministry of Justice to investigate the matter.
In San Francisco, six people were arrested on suspicion of looting a Louis Vuitton store. Others, such as Fendi and Yves Saint Laurent, were also robbed. It is unclear whether the thefts were related to the demonstrations.
In Kenosha, a small group protested outside the courthouse, where Rittenhouse was acquitted. She chanted anti-police slogans. Many local businesses were boarded up. The demonstrations ran peacefully, reported Fox News reporters.
There was a relatively small protest in Boston.
“Many democratic politicians, leftist publicists, celebrities and organizations have found the accused’s acquittal as evidence of a bias in the justice system in favor of whites. Republicans and right-wing journalists have praised the verdict as an example of a just-functioning justice system,” noted Fox News.
Main photo source: EPA / JASON SZENES