Kamala Harris says Rittenhouse verdict ‘speaks for itself’ and shows there is more to do make justice system ‘more equitable’

·2 min read

Kamala Harris says the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict “speaks for itself” and shows that America has more to do make its justice system “more equitable.”

The vice president was asked about the teenager’s acquittal over killing two protesters and injuring another during the 2020 Kenosha protests, as she boarded Air Force Two in Columbus, Ohio.

“My impressions about the verdict is that 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,” she said.

Mr Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all five charges in his homicide trial for shooting dead two men and seriously wounding a third during a night of unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer.

The jury returned its verdict on Friday afternoon after spending four days deliberating on the charges.

Mr Rittenhouse, 18, began shaking uncontrollably, before his knees appeared to give way and he collapsed to his seat as he learned he would walk out of court a free man.

The vice-president took a different view on the outcome of the trial than the president, who said that the jury system in the US legal system should be respected.

“Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works, and we have to abide by it,” said Joe Biden after the trial concluded.

In a statement later in the day, Mr Biden acknowledged that the verdict “will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included.”

But he said that Americans “must acknowledge that the jury has spoken.”

Mr Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, travelled from his home in Antioch, Illinois, armed with an AR-15-style rifle to Kenosha, Wisconsin on 25 August 2020 amid protests over the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake.

He shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and also shot Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived.

Mr Rittenhouse claimed he acted in self defence after he was attacked by a mob. The prosecution claimed that Mr Rittenhouse provoked the violence and then used deadly force.

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