A jury Friday afternoon found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of charges related to killing two people and injuring a third at protests during unrest in Kenosha in August 2020.
Following the decision, reaction has poured in across the country, including from politicians and the family of Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man whose shooting spurred racial injustice protests in the Wisconsin community.
Here's what organizations and people - from lawmakers to victims' families - have had to say:
Lawyer for Joseph Rosenbaum's Estate and Gaige Grosskreutz
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Kimberley Motley and Milo Schwab, attorneys for Gaige Grosskreutz and the estate of Joseph Rosenbaum released the following statement:
"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."
Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton
"Today is a good day to push for equal justice under the law for all, and tomorrow will be too. And the next day…
Some days will fill us with hope and the promise of change. Others will leave us feeling drained. Either way, push forward we must.
I am disappointed in the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, but I am not surprised. That is why I remain committed to doing the work that will one day make equal justice for all a reality. We are not there yet.
We must continue our work alongside those in communities most impacted by these types of injustices, allowing them to lead the way as we seek solutions in building safer communities for our children.
I’m praying for the Huber and Rosenbaum families. And I’m praying for all who are feeling overlooked, ignored and disillusioned by today’s verdict."
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.
Rev. Jesse Jackson
The following statement was issued by Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition:
"In reaction to Kyle Rittenhouse jury finding him not guilty on all charges, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Friday said the verdict 'is a miscarriage of justice.'
When Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroder called Rittenhouse, who killed two men and wounded a third, a 'victim,' Rev. Jackson said, 'A young white male vigilante called a victim by the judge is a grave injustice in the American judicial system. It lessens our ability for human rights around the world. Kyle Rittenhouse was able to walk out of court with a military assault rifle. There are two dead and one injured.
All demonstrators are now in jeopardy because of those heavily armed with the Rittenhouse model over seeing. Kyle Rittenhouse killed two people and is not guilty of murder. This is indeed a grave miscarriage of justice.
Rittenhouse came across state lines brought by his mother to Wisconsin running down the street brandishing his gun. His mother took him back to state lines to Illinois and he was allowed by police. This is a dangerous precedent for Illinois. His mother, the police and those who sold him the gun, must share the responsibility,' said Rev. Jackson."
Chicago Teachers Union
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
“I am aware of the jury’s verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case, and under our constitutional system, we must respect the jury’s decision. However, no one should ever take the law into their own hands, or attempt to make themselves the judge, jury, and executioner. What Kyle Rittenhouse did was reckless, dangerous, and showed an utter disregard for human life.
My condolences go out to the family, friends, and loved ones of the victims during this difficult time. Let us also remember and pray for Jacob Blake and his family as he continues his journey of rehabilitation.”
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."
Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network
“These continue to be dark days for black people killed at the hands of people that believe our lives do not matter. This verdict was not only outrageous and dangerous, it was also an obvious signal that encourages and notifies “vigilantes” that they can continue to use violence to assert their power, and more importantly that they are above the criminal justice system when they do. While it is disheartening that we take one step forward, then several steps back, let this be a reminder that our activism cannot take a backseat”
Kenosha County District Attorney's Office
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, the lead prosecutor in the Rittenhouse case, released the following statement:
"The jury, representing our community, has rendered its verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case. While we are disappointed with the verdict, it must be respected. We are grateful to the members of the jury for their diligent and thoughtful deliberations. The Kenosha community has endured much over the past 15 months, and yet we remain resilient and strong. We ask that members of our community continue to express their opinions and feelings about this verdict in a civil and peaceful manner."
Kyle Rittenhouse Defense Attorney Mark Richards
"To say that we were relieved would be a gross misunderstanding. And Kyle is not here. He's on his way home. He wants to get on with his life."
"He has a huge sense of relief for what the jury did to him today. He wishes none of this would have ever happened. But as he said when he testify, he did not start this and we're thankful in more ways than one, that the jury finally got to hear the true story..."
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers
"The verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case is a travesty and fails to deliver justice on behalf of those who lost their lives as they peacefully assembled to protest against police brutality and violence. Rittenhouse's decision to go to Kenosha and provoke protestors was unwarranted. Moreover, the outcome of this case sets a dangerous precedent.
We have seen this same outcome time and time again; a justice system that presents different outcomes based on the race of the accused. This verdict is a reminder of the treacherous role that white supremacy and privilege play within our justice system. In the midst of this disappointing verdict, we must continue to work to ensure that those who seek to harm progress do not find refuge for their illicit acts in a system meant to protect victims."
Black Lives Matter
U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil - Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes
Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump
U.S. Sen Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
Karen Bloom and John Huber - Parents of Anthony Huber
Karen Bloom and John Huber, the parents of Anthony Huber, who was fatally shot by Rittenhouse, released the following statement:
"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."
Justin Blake - Uncle of Jake Blake
Justin Blake, the uncle of Jacob Blake, spoke outside the Kenosha County Courthouse in the moments following the decision.
"We're gonna maintain peace and protests in the streets and all over America. Our voices [are] gonna be heard all over America. I'm about to take the streets of America because we still have Ahmad Arbery, we still have Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the fight continues."
"We know the truth. And one thing about the truth, the truth will make you free. We're not satisfied. We're not going to be pacified. And we're not going to accept this..."
"...And so there's jury and this judge and this court, and many of you in the media saw for yourselves. Unprecedented rulings, unprecedented bias, unprecedented actions that gave this defendant the kind of leverage...that brought about this verdict. We're gonna continue to fight, but we're going to continue to be peaceful. And we're going to continue to use our First Amendment the right for freedom of speech, and social justice. Let freedom ring."