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Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse testified that he acted in self-defense, fearing for his life, according to an article by BLACK ENTERPRISE.
On Monday (November 15), closing arguments commenced with Defense attorney Mark Richards defending Rittenhouse, arguing that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense when he killed two people and wounded another during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer. “Every person who was shot was attacking Kyle,” Richards said, according to CNN.
In prosecutors’ rebuttal, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney James Kraus called Rittenhouse’s use of deadly force, to the alleged threats against his life, unreasonable.
“It certainly cannot be reasonable for someone to be holding an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle with powerful ammunition and be chased by someone who is unarmed who’s smaller than him, who’s shorter than him and the first thing you do to defend yourself is you plug four rounds into him,” Kraus told the court. He added, “The standard is the defendant may intentionally use force, which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm, such as firing an AR-15, only if the defendant reasonably believed that the force used was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.”
Kraus additionally argued that Rittenhouse should have “exhausted all methods” of self-defense before shooting, CNN reported. “Punch him in the face, kick him in the testicles, knee him in the face, hit him with your gun,” the attorney said, per the outlet. “You don’t just immediately get to shoot someone … It is not reasonable for any adult … to not try and defend yourself first using other methods.”
“Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded,” Biden said following the news of Rittenhouse’s acquittal. “The jury system works and we have to abide by it.”
Rittenhouse, 18, faced five felony charges for the murder of two men and injuring of another last August in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A jury deliberated just over a total of 25 hours over four days to find the accused gunman not guilty on all counts.
Kalfani Ture, an assistant professor at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland, told the Michigan Chronicle that the verdict may move America closer to a civil war due to amateur police.
“Despite 135 years removed from America’s greatest sin, and 60 years removed from the civil rights era, race is still the thorny problem that won’t go away. Race matters, sadly where if one is white their lives are of value and the opposite is true for Blacks,” Ture said, adding that Black lives are deemed valueless and dangerous.”
He added that with yesterday’s verdict, African Americans, mostly were not shocked, “but have expressed to me a fatigue, in having to convince white allies to hold the line.”
“This verdict has given a chilling effect to white allies and they may very well decide to sit out for the next social justice act for the fear of losing their lives,” he said.
With this dismissal, Rittenhouse avoids a fine of up to $10,000 and nine months in prison.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.
Staff Writer Sherri Kolade contributed to this report.