Kyle Rittenhouse reaction: Social media lights up after not guilty verdict
WASHINGTON - Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges Friday after pleading self-defense in the deadly Kenosha shootings in the summer of 2020.
Celebrities and politicians were quick to voice their opinion after the ruling, some standing with the court’s decision, while others expressed their opposition to the ruling.
President Joe Biden answered a few questions from reporters in the wake of the verdict, saying he stands by the jury’s decision. He said he had just heard about the verdict.
"I stand by what the jury has to say. The jury system works," Biden said.
Later, Biden issued a formal statement, writing, "While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken. I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law."
Biden continued, "I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy. The White House and Federal authorities have been in contact with Governor Evers's office to prepare for any outcome in this case, and I have spoken with the Governor this afternoon and offered support and any assistance needed to ensure public safety."
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio issued a strong reaction to the verdict, calling it a "miscarriage of justice."
"Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum are victims. They should be alive today," de Blasio wrote. "The only reason they’re not is because a violent, dangerous man chose to take a gun across state lines and start shooting people. To call this a miscarriage of justice is an understatement."
De Blasio continued in a separate Tweet: "This verdict is disgusting and it sends a horrible message to this country. Where is the justice in this? We can't let this go. We need stronger laws to stop violent extremism from within our own nation. Now is the time."
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Wisconsin governor Tony Evers issued a statement, writing, in part, "No verdict will be able to bring back the lives of Anthony Huber and Jonathan Rosenbaum, or heal Gaige Grosskreutz’s injuries, just as no verdict can heal the wounds or trauma experienced by Jacob Blake and his family. No ruling today changes our reality in Wisconsin that we have work to do toward equity, accountability, and justice that communities across our state are demanding and deserve."
Scott Walker, the former governor of Wisconsin also chimed in writing, "All of us who knew what actually happened in Kenosha last year assumed this would be the verdict. Thankfully, the jury thought the same. Pray that the kind of violence seen then does not happen again. And pray for the jurors that they too might be safe from violence."
Congressman of New York’s 13th district Adriano Espaillat also spoke out, saying, "Kyle Rittenhouse is living proof that white tears can still forestall justice. A murderer is once again walking free today — our system is terribly broken."
Representative of Wisconsin's 4th congressional district added, "A system that legitimizes vigilante murder is deeply broken."
Meanwhile, Congresswoman for Illinois’s 15th district Mary Miller spoke out in defense of the court’s ruling Wednesday.
"Justice has prevailed for Kyle Rittenhouse. In America, we have trial by jury. Not by the media. Not by Hollywood celebrities. And definitely not by liberal blue checkmarks on Twitter. Americans have a Second Amendment right to self defense and we will never surrender it," Miller wrote.
Arizona Representative Andy Biggs echoed Miller’s sentiment writing on social media, "NOT GUILTY! This is why in America we have trial by jury, not by media."
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson wrote, "I believe justice has been served in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. I hope everyone can accept the verdict, remain peaceful, and let the community of Kenosha heal and rebuild."
Bryan Steil, who serves Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, issued a statement, writing, "The trial made clear that when authorities fail to utilize proper resources to protect public safety, violence and destruction often follows. The destruction Kenosha did not need to occur."
"This justice system has once again showcased that there is a system within the system that consistently slaps ‘other’ communities on the wrist and sentences black communities to profiling and despair. Today that system has failed us, right on schedule," the president and CEO of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, wrote.
Rittenhouse could have gotten life in prison if found guilty on the most serious charge, first-degree intentional homicide, or what some other states call first-degree murder.
Rittenhouse had been charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering after killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests over police violence against Black people in the summer of 2020. The former police youth cadet is white, as were those he shot.
Rittenhouse, 18, is on trial for killing two men and wounding a third with a rifle during a turbulent night of protests that erupted in Kenosha in the summer of 2020 after a Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by a white police officer. Rittenhouse said he acted in self-defense, while the prosecution argued he instigated the bloodshed.
FOX Milwaukee contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.