Kyle Rittenhouse is acquitted of all charges following the fatal shooting of two individuals in the United States.
Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of murdering two individuals and attempting to murder a third with his semi-automatic weapon during Wisconsin's violent 2020 racial justice rallies, with the jury concluding that the youngster acted in self-defense.
A 12-member jury found Rittenhouse, 18, not guilty of two charges of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety on August 25, 2020, in the working-class city of Kenosha, amid street protests marked by fire, rioting, and looting.
His trial polarized the country, showing the country's deep divisions over divisive subjects such as gun rights.
Rittenhouse burst into tears following the verdict, which came just after the judge urged the courtroom to maintain silence or face removal.
"All accusations against (the) defendant are dismissed with prejudice, and he is discharged from his bond," Judge Bruce Schroeder stated in court.
Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and slashed Gaige Grosskreutz, 28.
After more than three days of deliberation, the jury wrestled with opposing narratives from the defense and prosecution that painted wildly disparate pictures of the teenager's conduct on the night of the shootings.
The defense contended that Rittenhouse had been accosted repeatedly and shot the guys out of fear for his life.
He was described as a civic-minded adolescent who was in Kenosha to safeguard private property following several nights of disturbance in the community south of Milwaukee.
The turmoil began after a black man named Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer and left paralyzed from the waist down.
Rittenhouse was characterized by the prosecution as a reckless vigilante who provoked the violent interactions and showed no remorse for the individuals he shot with his AR-15-style rifle.
The trial, which was livestreamed and discussed daily by cable television experts, happened during a period of social and political division in the United States.
Rittenhouse, who claimed that he was forced to shoot fire to defend himself, is hailed as a hero by some conservatives who support expanded gun rights.
Rittenhouse is viewed by many progressives as a vigilante and the personification of an out-of-control gun culture.
With so much of that night in Kenosha being captured on cell phone and surveillance camera, few fundamental facts remained in dispute.
Rather than that, the trial focused on whether Rittenhouse behaved properly to avert "imminent death or serious bodily damage," as required by Wisconsin law when employing deadly force.
The prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger of Kenosha County, sought to portray Rittenhouse as the aggressor, noting that he was the only one killed that night.
Rittenhouse testified in his own defense last Wednesday, the trial's most dramatic moment – a daring move by his attorneys given his young and the potential of severe prosecution cross-examination.
Rittenhouse sobbed briefly but stressed that he fired on the men only after being attacked.
"I did everything I needed to do to fend off the attacker," he explained.
Rittenhouse said that he shot Huber after he collided with him on a skateboard and drew his weapon.
He claimed he shot Grosskreutz after the man pointed the weapon he was carrying at the youngster – a claim Grosskreutz confirmed during cross examination by the defense.
Rittenhouse testified that he shot Rosenbaum after the man pursued him and attempted to steal his rifle.