US teen who shot dead two during demonstrations last year ruled not guilty of reckless homicide
Chicago, November 20, 2021
After more than three days of deliberation, a jury in Kenosha County in the southeast corner of the US state of Wisconsin ruled Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of reckless homicide.
Rittenhouse was arrested on murder charges in August 2020 after he fatally shot two men and injured a third during violent demonstrations over the shooting of Jacob Blake, an African American, by a white police officer.
Rittenhouse began to shake and sob on Friday when the court clerk read the verdict of the 12-member jury, and slumped into a chair crying after hearing he had been acquitted of all charges against him.
Ever since the jury began to deliberate on Rittenhouse's case, the police in Kenosha have been on standby for any protest or violence that may erupt.
The verdict will add a final chapter to a criminal case that has deeply divided the United States, the Chicago Tribune reported on Friday, a country that has already polarised on issues such as gun rights and racial equity.
The Kenosha County jury deliberated for more than 25 hours before reaching this verdict. The trial has focused on a straightforward self-defense argument in which jurors were asked to decide whether Rittenhouse believed his life was threatened when he shot. The court judge also instructed jurors to put aside political tensions surrounding the case before the deliberation began, the local newspaper reported.