The parents of one of the two men killed by Kyle Rittenhouse say the teenage gunman’s acquittal sends an ‘unacceptable message’.
Anthony Huber’s parents say the not guilty verdict creates the impression armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence and face no consequences.
While many are outraged by the jury’s decision, it remains to be seen whether protests will break out come nightfall in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin where the trial was held.
In a statement, Huber’s parents said: ‘We are heartbroken and angry that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in his criminal trial for the murder of our son Anthony Huber.
‘There is no justice today for Anthony, or for Mr. Rittenhouse’s other victims, Joseph Rosenbaum and Gaige Grosskreutz.’
Parents John Huber and Karen Bloom say the verdict means there’s no accountability for the person who killed their 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,’ their statement read.
‘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.’
Huber’s parents are not the only ones who feel the jury got it wrong.
The family of Jacob Blake said the acquittal of Rittenhouse — who fatally shot two and injured another — was an ‘injustice.’
Protests sparked by the shooting of Blake, a black man who is now paralyzed after being shot seven times by a Kenosha police officer last summer, are what drew the then 17-year-old Rittenhouse to the city.
Rittenhouse, now 18, was found not guilty of the five felony charges he faced.
These included first-degree intentional homicide of Anthony Huber, first-degree reckless homicide of Joseph Rosenbaum, attempted first-degree intentional homicide of Gaige Grosskreutz and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, said he was in ‘shock and awe’ after hearing the jury acquitted Rittenhouse on all five charges, ABC reported.
‘This attack on these two young men who had no weapon to defend themselves against an AR-15,’ he said.
‘They chose to represent themselves and come out here to march in peace for Jacob Blake – it led to their death.’
There were mixed reactions outside the Kenosha County Courthouse on Friday following the ruling.
Supporters of Rittenhouse viewed the court proceedings as proof he was defending himself, while those who feel Rittenhouse was guilty called it a ‘mockery’ of justice.
‘I’m very disappointed and I expected a different verdict,’ Veronica King, secretary of the NAACP Kenosha branch told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. ‘We need to demand diverse juries.’
Lynn Lyons, of Chicago, told the paper she watched the trial from start to finish and ‘totally agreed’ with the verdict that Rittenhouse had acted in self-defense.
She said had she been in Rittenhouse’s position she would have done the same thing.
Lyons also said she didn’t see a link between this case and that of the three men charged in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
She thinks those men are guilty, and that Rittenhouse’s case is very different. Self-defense was also invoked in that trial, which is ongoing.
Local officials in Kenosha are encouraging residents and those there to protest to respect the verdict.
Kenosha District Attorney, Michael Gravely released a statement saying, ‘We respect the jury verdict…We ask all members of the public accept the verdicts peacefully.’
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called in 500 National Guard members to be on stand-by 60 miles outside Kenosha ahead of the verdict.
President Joe Biden acknowledged that the verdict in the trial ‘will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included’.
The President also said that everyone ‘must acknowledge the jury has spoken’ and encouraged protestors to practice their views peacefully.
The governor of Rittenhouse’s home state of Illinois, Democrat J.B. Pritzker denounced the ruling, saying: ‘We must do better than this,’ in a short, but strongly worded statement.
‘Carrying a loaded gun into a community 20 miles from your home and shooting unarmed citizens is fundamentally wrong. It’s a tragedy the court could not acknowledge that basic fact.’
Reverend Jesse Jackson called the verdict a ‘miscarriage of justice.’ Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network released a statement calling the verdict ‘not only outrageous and dangerous,’ but ‘an obvious signal that encourages and notifies “vigilantes” that they can continue to use violence to assert their power’.
While many continue to express outrage over the ruling, Rittenhouse’s defense attorney issued a statement saying his client ‘wants to get on with his life’.
‘To say that we were relieved would be a gross misunderstanding,’ Mark Richards said.
‘And Kyle is not here. He’s on his way home. He wants to get on with his life.’
Getting on with things, the 18-year-old gunman was photographed shortly after the ruling while leaving the courthouse, a beaming smile on his face.
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