Kyle Rittenhouse

Rev. Jesse Jackson to Join Groups in Kenosha Protest of Rittenhouse Verdict Sunday

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Several groups, including one led by Rev. Jesse Jackson, will take part in a march Sunday afternoon in Kenosha to protest the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, saying that the group’s goal is for the teen to face federal charges, and for his mother to face charges in connection with the fatal shooting of two individuals in Aug. 2020.

Rittenhouse was acquitted on all five counts in a trial that captured national media attention, but activists, including Jackson, Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef and Bishop Tavis Grant, are calling for additional scrutiny in the case in the form of a federal investigation and an investigation of the actions of Rittenhouse’s mother.

NOTICE: Video of Sunday's demonstration can be seen here, and may contain strong language. Discretion is advised.

“The verdict of not guilty is very revealing of the state of criminal justice in America,” Grant, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition National Field Director, said in a statement. “There are still federal laws he violated. He’s not off the hook.”

According to organizers, the march will kick off at 2 p.m. at Civic Center Park in Kenosha. Demonstrators will retrace the movements made by Rittenhouse on the night of the shootings, and the march will end at the Kenosha County Courthouse, according to details of the planned demonstration.

Grant says that the group is putting together a “public policy agenda,” and is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the fatal shootings.

The groups are also calling for Rittenhouse’s mother to face charges in connection with the shooting, alleging that she “aided and abetted” her son’s actions.

Sunday’s protest is the latest in a series of demonstrations both in Kenosha and across the country following the verdict, which was delivered Friday.

Rittenhouse was found not guilty by a jury after four days of deliberations following his murder trial. The 18-year-old was on trial for killing two men and wounding a third with a rifle during a turbulent night of protests and looting that erupted in Kenosha in the summer of 2020 after a Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by a white police officer.

Activists gathered at Chicago's Federal Plaza Saturday to protest the not guilty verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial, declaring the fight for justice isn't over. NBC 5's Jen DeSalvo reports.

Rittenhouse and his attorneys argued that he had acted in self-defense, while the prosecution argued that he had instigated the bloodshed.

After a trial that saw plenty of courtroom fireworks, with several mistrial motions and Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissing a weapons charge against the teen, Rittenhouse was acquitted on Friday.

“To say that we were relieved would be a gross misunderstanding,” Defense Attorney Mark Richards said after the verdict. “(Kyle) wants to get on with his life. He has a huge sense of relief for what the jury did to him today.”

The families of the two men killed in the shooting expressed disappointment in the verdict, as did Blake’s family.

“This just isn’t an attack on African Americans…You can sit back and say ‘it’s not your people and it’s not us and let the first domino fall,’ but this is a direct attack on our democracy,” Jacob Blake’s uncle Justin told NBC 5’s Phil Rogers.

Blake was left partially paralyzed when a Kenosha police officer shot him seven times in the back and side while responding to reports of a domestic disturbance. Blake had been fighting with officers, and had a knife at the time of the shooting.

County prosecutors later declined to press charges against the officer involved in the shooting.

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