chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) is urging the Department of Justice to charge Kyle Rittenhouse after he was found not guilty by Wisconsin jurors on Friday on all five counts in the deaths of two men during Black Lives Matter protests and riots in Kenosha in August 2020.
Rittenhouse faced up to life in prison for five charges, including first-degree reckless homicide, after killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injuring a third person. A sixth charge was dropped last Monday.
Republicans, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), have praised the not guilty verdict, with the Wisconsin senator stating that: “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.”
“All of us who knew what actually happened in Kenosha last year assumed this would be the verdict. Thankfully, the jury thought the same,” Republican former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also wrote on Twitter on Friday.
However, the not guilty verdict has created some division.
Nadler blasted Friday’s verdict and called for the DOJ to review the court decision.
“This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ,” Nadler wrote on Twitter.
“Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest,” argued the senior House Democrat.
Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) called the result “unconscionable,” and called for criminal justice and gun reform legislation in a statement.
“ ludicrous claim of self-defense is on par with the abhorrent behavior displayed by the prosecution and the judge. It is time for accountability.” Beatty said.
As the DOJ does not have the power or authority to “intervene in matters of state law,” it is unclear how the agency’s review of the case would play out.
Pezou has contacted Rittenhouse’s attorney for comment.
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter (BLM) said in a statement Friday that it was “not shocked” by the not guilty verdict and that it was “a reminder of how our legal systems are deeply rooted in white supremacy.”
“It was a set up from the beginning. police, the judge, the court, mainstream media, and every single system involved all wrapped their arms around Kyle Rittenhouse from the very beginning—from even before the murders he committed. What this verdict reminds us of is that this is a nation deeply rooted and still very committed to white supremacy, and we must continue to fight against it.”
In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson set to air on Monday, Rittenhouse said the case was not about race and that he supports the BLM movement.
“This case … had nothing to do with race, had to do with the right to self-defense,” Rittenhouse said. “I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement, I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to change.”
On Friday, protests erupted across several cities in the United States, with people taking to the streets of Chicago, New York, Oakland, California, Portland, Oregon, and other cities, to voice their dissatisfaction with the verdict.
Several dozen protesters assembled at Federal Plaza in Chicago, holding signs that read, “Reject Racist Vigilante Terror” and, “Kyle Will Kill Again!” In Portland, police declared a riot after a group of protesters damaged property and threw objects at police.
On Sunday, protesters opposed to Rittenhouse’s acquittal marched in Kenosha, chanting that they would “take these [expletive] streets.”
Roughly 100 people gathered, mostly from Chicago, Kenosha, and Racine for the march, which was peaceful and well-armed, with at least six people equipped with rifles, pistols, or both.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden reacted to the jury’s decision on the White House lawn on Friday, telling reporters, “Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded … jury system works and we have to abide by it.”
Pezou : House Judiciary Chairman Nadler Calls for DOJ to Charge Kyle Rittenhouse