Hundreds rally in Chicago against the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict as others celebrate his freedom

ByMaher Kawash WLS logo
Sunday, November 21, 2021
Hundreds call for justice in Chicago rally against the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict
The Antioch teen was acquitted on all five charges Friday in a shooting that left two people dead and another injured in 2020.

KENOSHA, Wis. (WLS) -- The verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse continues to spark mixed feelings.

Some took to the streets Friday and Saturday in protest over the jury's decision.

SEE ALSO | Kyle Rittenhouse's defense lawyer says putting Antioch teen on stand was crucial for acquittal

The Antioch teen was acquitted on all five charges Friday in a shooting that left two people dead and another injured in 2020.

The 12-person jury, that included seven women and five men, decided Rittenhouse acted in self-defense when he shot three men and killed two of them. A 14-month fight came to a close as many people remained surprised by the complete acquittal of the 18-year-old.

A verdict finding Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, IL not guilty for shooting three victims in Kenosha, WI yielded mixed reactions from community members.

As the jury read his fate, screaming was heard outside the courtroom. Some in Kenosha cheered while others were disappointed by the verdict.

Rittenhouse even collapsed in disbelief as the jury announced his freedom. The teen celebrated the win as he was driven away from the courthouse following the verdict. Rittenhouse said he believed the jury issued "the correct verdict."

RELATED | Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Jury reaches not guilty verdict in Kenosha shooting case

"I'm glad that everything went well. It's been a rough journey but we made it. We made it through the hard part," Rittenhouse said.

Rev. Jesse Jackson also offered his thoughts on the verdict, calling it a "major blow against justice and open season by the violence of right-wing military."

Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke on the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, calling it a "miscarriage of justice."

Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition is just one of the groups that gathered to demonstrate Saturday near Chicago's Federal Plaza

Ahead of the rally, the civil rights leader emphasized that just one juror was a person of color.

After speeches, the group moved through the Loop calling for justice and taking swipes at both President Biden and former President Trump. Some signs equated the verdict and the justice system with racism.

One man said he doesn't necessarily believe Kyle Rittenhouse intended to champion white supremacy on that infamous violent night, but he still sees the aftermath as supporting that group.

SEE ALSO | In gun control debate, Kyle Rittenhouse verdict unlikely to be last word

"It's just the fact that he's not held accountable for things that other people are punished for, for doing things way less," said demonstrator Dominic O'Connor.

"We don't think this verdict was correct and we don't think that justice was served," added fellow demonstrator Linda Loew.

The families of those who Rittenhouse shot and killed are also speaking out. Anthony Huber's father spoke to Good Morning America about how his son was portrayed in court.

"It's ridiculous what they do and the levels that they stoop to. They should be ashamed of themselves," he said.

John Huber said this was a shocking and unexpected not guilty verdict.

"There's no closure. We wanted to go on and start the grieving process. We can't even grieve," he added.

Although he won't face prison time, Rittenhouse's case is still playing out in the court of public opinion.

"The world will be his prison. Where he goes, people will say 'that's the guy who killed two people,'" Jackson said.

The Antioch teen's lead defense attorney said Friday following the verdict that he believes Rittenhouse did not want to be a crusader for anyone's cause.

Members of the Kenosha, Wisconsin community reacted after the jury decided Kyle Rittenhouse acted in self-defense.

"When Mr. Rosenbaum attacked him and then the mob came after him, he protected himself and that's legal in the state of Wisconsin and most places in the United States," Rittenhouse's attorney Mark Richards said.

Meanwhile, the prosecution was quick to express its disappointment with the verdict but still called for people to accept that decision from the jury.

The argument of self-defense was front and center in this trial and it took roughly 26 hours for the jury to come to this verdict. Many people expressed their discontent with the acquittal outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, while others celebrated it, calling it a win for the Second Amendment.

Members of the community, including Jacob Blake's uncle, Justin Blake, expressed the fallout from this verdict.

RELATED | 'I'm distraught for their families': Jacob Blake's family reacts to Kyle Rittenhouse verdict

"This will go around the world," Blake said. "We can no longer say a damn thing at any international meeting about human rights."

The sixth charge Rittenhouse had previously faced was a minor in possession of a dangerous weapon. That charge was dropped earlier in the week because of the length of the rifle Rittenhouse used in that shooting. That was seen as one of the charges he may have been more likely to result in a conviction.

Rittenhouse cannot be tried again for those Kenosha shootings, but he could face civil lawsuits.