The nation’s anxieties run high as a jury deliberates on the verdict in the double homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two men and injured another in the aftermath of protests against police violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020.
After the two-week trial, jurors are now working to determine Rittenhouse’s guilt in regard to five charges (the sixth charge was dropped on November 15). While many independent news outlets are actively anticipating an acquittal, many have also stressed a no-win situation whether Rittenhouse is acquitted or convicted.
In an article for Mother Jones, Nathalie Baptiste writes:
“Should Rittenhouse be convicted, he becomes a martyr. An acquittal legitimizes what he did, and he becomes a hero. Whatever the jury’s verdict, Kyle Rittenhouse will secure his place as a role model to be emulated.”
In an interview with DemocracyNow!, antiracist activist Bree Newsome Bass said that regardless of the trials’ outcomes, “the legal system itself is an affront to the notion of justice.” She added, “What does justice even mean in a system that was established to strip Black people of their humanity and for the greater part of its history has never really held white people accountable for murdering Black people?”
Issues regarding the personal biases of Wisconsin judge Bruce Schroeder have also been brought to light in independent news outlets. Judge Schroeder, as well as dropping the sixth charge against Rittenhouse for imprecise reasons has also displayed racist behavior in the courtroom, indicating that his biases may be in Rittenhouse’s favor.
Reporting for The Intercept, Stacey Wescott writes:
“Schroeder barred prosecutors from using the word “victim” to describe the individuals Rittenhouse shot, describing it as a “loaded” word. But Schroeder said he’d allow the defense to describe Rittenhouse’s victims as “looters,” “arsonists” and “rioters” — despite no evidence that any of them had engaged in any criminal activity before being injured or killed.”
Photo via AP