Kyle Rittenhouse verdict: Reaction to acquittal on all counts
KENOSHA, Wis. - Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges Friday, Nov. 19 after pleading self-defense in the deadly Kenosha shootings that became a flashpoint in the nation’s debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice.
Reaction to the news poured in from local and national politicians, including President Joe Biden.
President Biden said he spoke with Gov. Tony Evers and offered any federal assistance needed to protect safety, adding that the White House and federal authorities have been in touch to prepare for the verdict.
"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," President Biden said in a statement.
Evers activated 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops, but local law enforcement would need to request their help; the troops remain on standby until that time. Many troops are in Waukesha County. Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said he will only call on them as a last resort.
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Kyle Rittenhouse cleared on all charges
President Joe Biden
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.
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.
Vice President Kamala Harris
"The verdict really speaks for itself. As many of you know, I've spent a majority of my career working to make the criminal justice system more equitable. And, clearly, there's a lot more work to do."
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
"Here are the facts that are important to me. Kyle Rittenhouse, who was a minor at the time, traveled from Illinois to Wisconsin, and picked up an assault rifle that was illegally purchased for him. He took the law into his own hands, killing two people and injuring another. They were victims of gun violence and too many families have lost loved ones to these tragedies. I understand why people believe that justice was not served in this case, because I feel the same way. This ruling makes clear we have so much work to do to take on gun violence, and reform our broken criminal justice system so that it starts working equally and fairly for everyone.
"In Wisconsin, this judge has now ruled that it’s legal for a minor to walk the streets in Wisconsin with an assault weapon. If that is true, then our state legislature should take action now in a bipartisan way to change the law and make it illegal. I am afraid many more people will become victims of gun violence unless we take action at the federal and state level to pass common sense gun safety reforms that take on this epidemic and start saving lives. To me that’s just common sense that most people in our state would agree with.
"The fact that some people are cheering a ruling that has allowed someone to take the law into his own hands and walk free from any accountability after shooting and killing two people is disrespectful to the lives that were lost, and I am deeply concerned that it will encourage more tragic gun violence from those like Kyle Rittenhouse who think they have a license to take the law into their own hands in a violent way.
"To those who protest this ruling, I strongly urge them to do so safely and peacefully because no one wants to see what happened last year happen again. I have met with community leaders, business owners and racial justice activists in Kenosha a number of times since the police shooting of Jacob Blake and I know that the entire Kenosha community has gone through a lot of heartbreak and that the work for healing, peace, and justice continues. I continue to stand with Kenosha as we work together, to move forward together."
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson
"I think justice was served," Johnson told FOX6 News. "Certainly, nobody is celebrating, it's a tragedy all the way around, but I certainly appreciate the dedication of the jury, of the judge, the defense attorney who were all operating under intimidation, death threats. I hope everyone will accept the verdict."
U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil
"Today’s jury decision comes at the close of a thorough legal process, and after the jury had the opportunity to review all the facts of the case.
As I stated last year, I encourage our community to be calm and express their views lawfully and peacefully. We have seen the horrors of destruction in Kenosha, and it is my top priority to promote public safety by working with our local officials, law enforcement officers, and our entire community. As we move forward, we must support each other, and stand against any violence or destruction
This trial made clear that when authorities fail to utilize appropriate resources to protect public safety, violence and destruction often follows. The destruction in Kenosha did not need to occur. The events covered in the trial were avoidable if proper steps were taken last summer to reestablish public safety."
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore
Former President Donald Trump
Congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse for being found INNOCENT of all charges. It’s called being found NOT GUILTY—And by the way, if that’s not self defense, nothing is!
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Gov. Tony Evers
"No verdict will be able to bring back the lives of Anthony Huber and Joseph 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.
Kenoshans are strong, resilient, and have spent the last year working every day together toward healing. This case and the resulting national spotlight on the Kenosha community and our state have undoubtedly reopened wounds that have not yet fully healed. I echo the calls of local Kenosha community leaders and join them in asking everyone who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights in any community to please only do so safely and peacefully. We must have peace in Kenosha and our communities, and any efforts or actions aimed at sowing division are unwelcome in our state as they will only hinder that healing.
I’ve seen the pain and the frustration of so many, and we must remain steadfast in our commitment to ending violence in our communities, supporting victims and survivors as they heal from trauma, and rooting out the disparities that are so often inextricably linked to that violence and trauma. We must be unwavering in our promise to build a state where every kid, person, and family can live their life free of violence and have every chance to be successful.
We must move forward, together, more united and more motivated to build the sort of future we want for our state—one that is just, one that is equitable, and one where every person has the resources and opportunity to thrive—and I will not stop working to achieve that vision."
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes
"Over the last few weeks, many dreaded the outcome we just witnessed. The presumption of innocence until proven guilty is what we should expect from our judicial system, but that standard is not always applied equally. We have seen so many black and brown youth killed, only to be put on trial posthumously, while the innocence of Kyle Rittenhouse was virtually demanded by the judge.
"This is another example of the difficult road to justice in America, and while we can easily view this as a setback, we have to turn this into a moment to push even harder by staying engaged, by organizing for justice, by holding our leaders accountable, and by registering our friends and neighbors to vote. As elected leaders, myself and others have a special responsibility to lift up the voices of organizers, activists, and everyday people working for change. We must transform moments like this by raising our voices, together.
"Across Wisconsin and across the country, countless people are coming together in this moment to remember Jacob, Anthony, JoJo, and call for justice. Here is what gives me hope: We have seen communities – especially Kenosha – step up to demand action from those in power and work to bring about positive change. We have the power to elect leaders at every level who represent our highest aspirations, who will fight alongside us for reform and progress. We all have the power to heal Kenosha and our nation."
Attorney General Josh Kaul
"The residents of Kenosha have endured significant hardship over the course of more than a year, and they have worked hard to heal their community. It is imperative that everyone who wishes to make their voice heard about today’s verdict does so peacefully and respects the right of Kenosha residents to be safe and to continue healing.
"Let me be clear: I condemn vigilantism. It is dangerous and illegal, and it has no place in our communities. The actions of those attempting to take the law into their own hands only put the safety of law enforcement officers and communities in danger.
"We have work to do to make our communities more equitable and safer. We must work together to seek greater unity and not division, with hope and not fear, and we must be unwavering in our pursuit of equal justice under the law."
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos
"Today's unanimous verdict may be shocking for some, but for many others, it is proof that our justice system works. The right to a trial by a jury of your peers is a fundamental part of the checks and balances in our country.
"Let's hope politicians and activists who disagree with the verdict don't use this as an opportunity to sew more division and destruction in our community. For those disappointed in the outcome, I urge peace and unity over violence and destruction."
Former Gov. Scott Walker
State Sen. Lena Taylor
"Strong opinions and feelings will follow the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse. Questions about the charging decisions, what constitutes self-defense, judicial behavior, and the undercurrents of race will likely fuel conversations, debates, and declarations for years to come. While the verdict generated more questions than it answered, one fact is clear: today isn’t a victory for anyone.
Today isn’t a victory for personal freedom, the 2nd Amendment or any other political "dog whistle" that some will trot out to explain what happened in Kenosha. Today is just sad. It is a sad reminder of the loss of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, the awful wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, and the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse and his family will forever live with the knowledge that he killed two people and non-fatally injured a third. Like other infamous shooters, his life will forever be under a microscope. While acquitted, the reality is that he will likely never be free of this horrific chapter of his life.
Today, I also acknowledge the Black youth who have openly challenged the treatment of Kyle Rittenhouse. I understand their struggle to explain why an AR-15 in one minor’s hands means something different, than a handgun in another’s. I understand their frustration that claims of "self-defense" are often reserved for everyone else but them.
For too many, today feels like another notch, in the rope of division that separates our communities and state. Today, we could easily become more entrenched, emboldened, and steadfast in what polarizes us as people. Yet, I encourage everyone to be deliberate in their peace, thoughtful in their response, and committed to the work to bring about changes that allow us all to be valued and respected.
State Rep. Gordon Hintz
"My thoughts are with the loved ones of Anthony Huber and JoJo Rosenbaum, who were killed by Kyle Rittenhouse on August 25, 2020. Both men should still be alive today.
"I urge all Wisconsinites to support continued healing for the people of Kenosha and to reimagine what true justice and safety look like in Wisconsin. Let us all work to transform this painful moment into a turning point in ensuring accountability in public safety, addressing systemic racism in our state, and prioritizing true justice and healing in Wisconsin.
"This ruling is a green light for these types of people to instigate violence, only to use violence to escape accountability."
State Rep. David Bowen
"The Rittenhouse trial verdict, whether guilty or not guilty, continues to expose major rifts in our state among neighbors of different experiences. Race relations, which is the heart of this issue here, is at an all-time low and we can no longer ignore these rifts that are dividing our state without listening to all hurting communities. I hesitate to believe this case was impartial and was without prejudices. I have always and will continue to be a voice for peaceful protest. To be clear, protest is a right accessible to every Wisconsinite to engage in democracy and advocacy originating at the founding of our country.
The protest movement is all about protecting lives and the basic rights of all people. I encourage anyone to do so peacefully and to have their voice heard. We will continue the protest movement in the spirit of peace and justice for all people.
Wisconsin is at its best when we ALL are united in our empathy for everyone's experience. It is imperative that we work to make sure every citizen has the ability to live their God given destiny without the threat of losing their life. I call for a renewed commitment to have the tough conversations rather than the alternative that leads to violence from an individual who is not a citizen of our state coming in to divide us further."
State Sen. Chris Larson
The verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse was disappointing, but sadly not unexpected. Even if Mr. Rittenhouse was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to the fullest extent of the law, it would not undo the damage done to Kenosha or our nation. Nothing can bring back the two people he killed. The deep divisions in our country highlighted by those who saw Mr. Rittenhouse as a hero vs. those who saw him as a monster cannot be healed overnight, but heal we must. It is my sincere belief that in justice, we will find peace. Justice was not served today and it’s on all of us to try and change the system so that this horrible situation isn't allowed to repeat itself.
Let us not forget why the teenager from Illinois was in Kenosha in the first place. Peaceful protests in the wake of the reckless and unnecessary shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by Kenosha police had in some corners turned violent. Right-wing profiteers used this violence to stoke fear and reinforce racial stereotypes among white Americans, causing then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse to show up in Kenosha, heavily armed and, in his own mind at least, doing the work that law enforcement was either unwilling or unable to do.
Hours later two people were dead, another wounded, and the kid who appeared to surrender to authorities shortly after the shootings was on his way back home to Illinois. A year later, Rittenhouse, now an adult in the eyes of the law, is going home again - this time after being exonerated in court of any wrongdoing for the very killings he himself admitted he had performed.
Where do we go from here, and how can we finally achieve the goals we all profess to hold dear - those of justice and peace? In my view, it is only in true justice that we can ever hope to find true peace. But what is true justice?
Justice is all people, regardless of race, creed, sexuality, gender identity or national origin having equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
Justice is a public health approach to violence prevention, with unarmed first responders handling the vast majority of our communities’ calls for service.
Justice is nobody being so afraid of their neighbors that they feel they need to carry a deadly weapon in public.
Justice is not leaving certain neighborhoods to crumble while others teem with investment.
Justice is fully funded public schools where kids of all backgrounds and needs can thrive.
Justice is making sure that when people put others in danger, whether they are a police officer or civilian, they are held to account and made to seek restitution for their crimes.
If we achieve these things, if we truly achieve justice in our nation, unity and a lasting peace will not be far behind. I hope that sooner rather than later, we can finally live up to the American ideals we have strived toward for 245 years.
State Sen. Patrick Testin
"Despite many rushing to judgement before all the facts were known, today is proof that when due process is allowed to be carried out, our justice system works. The jury in Kenosha took the evidence presented to them and made their verdict based on the facts and the law alone—Kyle is not guilty. While some may disagree with the outcome, they must do so peacefully and, unlike their actions in 2020, Gov. Evers and Lt. Gov. Barnes cannot fail the people of Kenosha again."
State Sen. Van Wangaard
"Whether or not you like this verdict, it was well deliberated and reflects, through the evidence presented, the opinion of the jury. Those 12 jury members are among the only people in the world who saw all the evidence and arguments in the case. The jury undoubtedly felt the weight of the world on them while they discussed the evidence. What they did over the last 3 weeks was not easy- no matter what they had decided. The process, whether or not you agree with the outcome was followed and worked. Justice was served.
Had Governor Evers and Lt. Governor Barnes taken control of the situation earlier last August, rather than fan the flames of unrest, this whole situation could have been avoided. Unfortunately, Barnes has already decided to fan the flames again. Words and actions have meaning.
I hope that everyone else takes a deep breath and thinks about what they say before they say it. If you want to protest or celebrate, do so peacefully. Kenosha and Wisconsin cannot afford a repeat of last August.
State Rep. Barbara Dittrich
"On August 26, 2021, I issued a statement decrying the inaction of Governor Tony Evers in responding to the violence, destruction, and total anarchy occurring in Kenosha after the justified police shooting of Jacob Blake. It was not until after businesses had burned that Evers finally relented and sent in the needed law enforcement help.
"While many feel strong emotions on whether a seventeen-year-old should have been there protecting businesses the night of August 25, 2020, the jury has now affirmed that young man’s right to protect himself when found under lethal threat by rioters. Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all charges filed against him. Despite attempts at jury tampering and bringing forth inadmissible evidence, our justice system has prevailed.
"I now ask that the public remain peaceful in their response to this verdict. As we saw when the initial rioting and violence took place in the summer of 2020, this sort of behavior never results in good. May we all move forward now as a state and nation, healing and working towards more positive involvement in our communities."
State Rep. Greta Neubauer
"I am horrified by the jury’s decision to acquit Rittenhouse today. As a result of Rittenhouse’s actions, JoJo Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber are dead, Gaige Grosskreutz was wounded, and their families and friends are left to deal with pain and grief in the aftermath. The right to peacefully protest is one guaranteed by our Constitution, and I fear that this decision will only embolden those who would bring weapons to confront protesters and attempt to impose vigilante justice in Wisconsin communities.
"We cannot lose sight of the cause of the turmoil where this incident happened — the failure of our justice system to protect Black and Brown lives. We must transform how we police, how we prosecute, and how we incarcerate, so we can create a truly just justice system in Wisconsin. As Kenosha works to heal from this tragedy, I call on all Wisconsinites to commit to transforming our broken justice system together.
"My thoughts are with JoJo and Anthony’s friends and family as they process today’s verdict. No verdict could have brought their loved ones back, but they deserved justice today."
State Rep. Robyn Vining
"My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, and with Gaige Grosskreutz, in the aftermath of this jury decision. I am thinking of the community of Kenosha as it looks to heal from these terrible tragedies.
"I am deeply troubled by the lack of accountability in this verdict. We must continue to work towards justice and healing in Wisconsin, which includes the fight against systemic racism, and against gun violence that is so dangerous for our communities."
State Rep. Shelia Stubbs
"On August 25th 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse opened fire in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His actions killed Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz. To see a full acquittal today is an injustice to his victims, to their loved ones, and to the entire Kenosha community."
"This fact is clear, Anthony and Joseph should still be alive today. We owe it to their memory and to their families to seek justice through real meaningful reform. The message this verdict sends is both appalling, and irresponsible. We must continue to fight for equity in our criminal justice system, and combat these senseless instances of gun violence."
"After the trial, the parents of Anthony Huber released this statement: "We hope that decent people will join us…and demand more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system", I urge my colleagues to hear this call to action, and do what is right for our communities. Throughout this session, and throughout my career, I have advocated for meaningful criminal justice reform. While we have taken the first steps forward, this case shows that there is so much more work to be done."
"Today, my prayers go out to the victims’ families, loved ones, and to the entire Kenosha community. Together we will continue our fight for justice, and for a better Wisconsin for everyone."
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler
"Today’s verdict—searing, shocking, but painfully unsurprising—has sent a wave of heartbreak and grief through our state and country. If a Black person had done what Kyle Rittenhouse did, it almost goes without saying, they would be far more likely to have been killed by police that night than to be walking free today. This verdict, and the trial and other events that preceded it, are a gut-wrenching illustration of a society with two systems of justice, two ways lives are valued, two sets of rules. A year ago, the movement for Black lives sustained the biggest demonstrations on any topic in the history of our country. Today, far-right and white supremacist militias are cheering and lifting up a teenager—who killed two human beings and almost killed another—as a hero.
"This moment demands that we remake our systems to create a state and a world where none of these events could ever have happened. Where our justice system treats all equally, with both fairness and accountability; where everyone, no matter where they live or the color of their skin, has the safety and security that every human being deserves. Where Anthony Huber and Jason Rosenbaum would still be alive, and Gaige Grosskreutz and Jacob Blake would be uninjured.
"We echo the call for peace and support for Kenosha, a community that has been through unthinkable tragedy. To Republican politicians who are trying to distract and divide Wisconsinites by politicizing a tragedy—the people of Kenosha deserve better.
"In this moment of tremendous tension and pain, we can reimagine what a safe future will look like. We can show up for each other, come together peacefully to help the community of Kenosha heal, and we can honor the victims and their families by calling for accountability, safety, and justice for all; by dismantling systems and cultures of white supremacy and violence; and by building a state where everyone, no exceptions, can thrive."
City, county officials
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley
"We respect the jury verdict based on three and a half days of careful deliberations. Certainly, issues regarding the privilege of self-defense remain highly contentious in our current times. We ask that all members of the public accept the verdicts peacefully and not resort to violence."
Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas
"A jury in a Kenosha courtroom today found Kyle Rittenhouse, the armed Illinois teenager who killed two people and wounded another during social justice protests in Kenosha last summer, not guilty on all charges.
"As many people across the country feel deep disappointment in this verdict, I share your frustrations. The American system of jurisprudence is still the beacon of the world and it has spoken. We may not all agree with the verdict, but let us remember Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, Gaige Grosskreutz, their families, and all who were impacted by the events in Kenosha.
"We must show restraint and remain calm - we all have the right to peacefully protest what we see as an injustice and we cannot take to violence to express our frustrations.
"Today’s verdict shines a light on the challenges we must address together, as a community. We must acknowledge the deep division that exists in our country and find ways to reset the standard for civility and justice. We must have real conversations about criminal justice reform that bring about honest change. Working together to achieve true equity across our diverse communities, we can unite in order to be the change we want to see, and all play an active role in bringing about that change.
"I urge us to continue working together as a nation to bring about liberty and justice for all."
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley
"This case, and the international attention it brought to Kenosha for over a year, will impact the community and our entire state for years to come. No matter what your opinion on the outcome today, the healing begins in how we respond to this moment in our history. I stand with the many leaders in Kenosha and throughout Southeast Wisconsin in calling for safe and peaceful demonstrations from those who choose to assemble and exercise their right to have their voices heard. Peace in our streets and in our communities is what we need right now, and it is the only way we’ll be able to move forward.
"Nothing will bring back the lives of Anthony Huber or Joseph Rosenbaum. Gaige Grosskreutz will live with his injuries for the rest of life. No ruling would have changed those truths. However, I am reminded once again about how far we have to go in achieving the mission and vision at Milwaukee County: by achieving racial equity, we will become the healthiest county in the state.
"Today, we recommit to our values of equity, transparency, accountability, fairness, and justice because we know that for generations government policies and practices didn’t prioritize those values for all residents. We denounce the violence that brings pain to our neighborhoods and ends too many lives too soon. We are relentless in our pursuit to dismantle racism within our organization and give every Milwaukee County resident the chance to live a long, successful, healthy life.
"This is the necessary and critical work needed to move forward together, heal our communities, transform Milwaukee County, and the entire state, into a place that protects all of its residents and gives them every chance to succeed."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson
Today’s verdict in Kenosha shows that the arc toward justice is still bending.
How in good conscience can an individual cross state lines, to protect property that he wasn’t asked to protect, with a weapon that he shouldn’t even have had, shoot three people - two of them fatally - and suffer no consequences for those actions?
Is this the Wisconsin we’ve built?
I suggest that as a state, we should reimagine who we are and think about how our justice system works for everyone.
Kenosha’s heart has ached for too long. I’m praying for healing and peace there, across Wisconsin, and across our great country.
Milwaukee County Supervisor Ryan Clancy
"Today’s verdict in the Rittenhouse case is what we expected: an absence of justice. But justice wasn’t an option today, regardless of the opinion the jury brought back.
"I was in Kenosha that night. In response to reports that white supremacists had put out public, explicit calls on social media to kill protesters, law enforcement trained their weapons not at those people making the threats, but on the protesters themselves. I watched as independent observers and media were tear-gassed, and as protesters justifiably upset about yet another police shooting were driven from a public space, kettled, hit with pepper rounds, gassed, and funneled towards where three would be shot and two would be killed.
"This act of violence did not begin with Rittenhouse. It began with the curfew, the horrific police response which saw him as a "friendly," and the system which went to great lengths to protect him, and itself, from accountability.
"Justice was never an option. We must change the system."
Milwaukee County Supervisor Priscilla Coggs-Jones
"My heart goes out to the families of Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz. Rosenbaum and Huber were killed at the hands of Kyle Rittenhouse, while Grosskreutz thankfully survived after being shot. I am heartbroken by the results of this verdict, and at the blatant unfairness of the justice system that acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse."
Families and organizations
Statement of Karen Bloom & John Huber
We are heartbroken and angry that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in his criminal trial for the murder of our son Anthony Huber. There was no justice today for Anthony, or for Mr. Rittenhouse’s other victims, Joseph Rosenbaum and Gaige Grosskreutz.
We did not attend the trial because we could not bear to sit in a courtroom and repeatedly watch videos of our son’s murder, and because we have been subjected to many hurtful and nasty comments in the past year. But we watched the trial closely, hoping it would bring us closure.
That did not happen. Today’s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street. We hope that decent people will join us in forcefully rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system.
Make no mistake: our fight to hold those responsible for Anthony’s death accountable continues in full force. Neither Mr. Rittenhouse nor the Kenosha police who authorized his bloody rampage will escape justice. Anthony will have his day in court.
No reasonable person viewing all of the evidence could conclude that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. In response to racist and violent calls to action from militia members, Mr. Rittenhouse travelled to Kenosha illegally armed with an assault rifle. He menaced fellow citizens in the street. Though he was in open violation of a curfew order, Kenosha police encouraged him to act violently. Kenosha police told militia members that they would push peaceful protestors toward the militia so that the militia could "deal with them." Soon after, Mr. Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum. The police did nothing. Concerned citizens, confronted with a person shooting indiscriminately on the street, stepped in to stop the violence. Anthony was shot in the chest trying to disarm Mr. Rittenhouse and stop his shooting spree. Still, the police did nothing. Mr. Rittenhouse continued to shoot, maiming Gaige Grosskreutz. The police let Mr. Rittenhouse leave the scene freely. Mr. Rittenhouse came to Kenosha armed to kill. Kenosha police encouraged him to act violently, and our son is dead as a result.
We are so proud of Anthony, and we love him so much. He is a hero who sacrificed his own life to protect other innocent civilians. We ask that you remember Anthony and keep him in your prayers.
Kimberley Motley and Milo Schwab: Attorneys for Gaige Grosskreutz and the Estate of Joseph Rosenbaum
"Today we grieve for the families of those slain by Kyle Rittenhouse. Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum did not deserve to die that night. For now, we ask for peace from everyone hurting and that the public respect the privacy of the victims and their families. That night in Kenosha, Gaige Grosskreutz, Anthony Huber, and many others acted heroically. They did not seek violence, but to end violence. What we need right now is justice, not more violence. While today's verdict may mean justice delayed, it will not mean justice denied. We are committed to uncovering the truth of that night and holding those responsible to account."
The American Civil Liberties Union released the following statement after a jury decided that Kyle Rittenhouse was not guilty of the fatal shooting of two protestors and injuring of another in last year’s demonstrations following the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha Police Department officer last year:
Shaadie Ali, interim executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, stated:
"Despite Kyle Rittenhouse’s conscious decision to take the lives of two people protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake by police, he was not held responsible for his actions, something that is not surprising. But Kyle Rittenhouse isn’t the only one responsible for the deaths that night. The events in Kenosha stem from the deep roots of white supremacy in our society’s institutions. They underscore that the police do not protect communities of color in the same way they do white people.
"The situation also represents an outrageous failure to protect protesters by the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office. Months of research and open records requests have uncovered many incidents in which police enabled white militia members to become armed vigilantes in the street due to their failure to control the crowd. They also created an environment where protesters, many of whom were people of color, were not protected and treated as the enemy. At the same time, white militia members were welcomed with open arms. We need a system of public safety that protects the lives of the entire community.
"Rittenhouse’s trial highlights an urgent need for reform for both police and the criminal legal system. The system is broken, and it desperately needs to be fixed."
Brandon Buskey, director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, stated:
"Kyle Rittenhouse was a juvenile who traveled across state lines on a vigilante mission, was allowed by police to roam the streets of Kenosha with an assault rifle and ended up shooting three people and killing two. These are the simple, tragic facts. His acquittal comes after an ACLU investigation exposing how Kenosha law enforcement used violence against protesters and drove them toward white militia groups, in ways that escalated tensions and almost certainly led to these shootings.
"This complicity, along with the reason for the protests that Rittenhouse took it upon himself to confront — the police shooting of a Black man outside of a family function — highlights that the violence in Kenosha is not an anomaly, but rather endemic to a system built upon white supremacy.
"In Kenosha, we saw the police shoot a Black man in the back — in front of his children. When the community rose up to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, police enabled white supremacist militia members, which helped to spur rank vigilantism. The result of this failure was bloodshed, the loss of lives, and enduring trauma. It is far too easy to overlook the impact that violence in defense of white supremacy has on all of our communities. As we reimagine public safety, we need to create solutions that extend that safety to everyone — including those that have been systematically neglected and preyed upon."
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki is inviting people to join him in praying for and promoting peace following the Kyle Rittenhouse trial verdict in Kenosha.
"During times like these with severe division among people and the potential for social unrest, it is important for us to remember Jesus’ commandment to Love One Another.
As Americans, we rely upon the rule of law and our justice system, which ensures the rights of all our citizens.
We need to remember that every individual is made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore we need to follow the two great commandments -- love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. By doing this, we recognize the human dignity in every person and treat each other with respect and love."