After almost four days of deliberation, the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial has found the teenager not guilty on all five counts. The news came as Kenosha, Wisconsin, prepared for potential unrest, deploying 500 guardsmen from the Wisconsin Guard. The will be staged outside the city unless requested by law enforcement. Hundreds of officers already volunteered to respond ahead of Tuesday’s verdict. Many schools chose to switch to remote learning ahead of the verdict being delivered.
“The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. “I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully.”
Judge Bruce Schroeder praised the jurors for their job rendering the verdict and said that none of them are under any obligation to discuss the case with the media. “You’re welcome to discuss the case as little or as much as you want,” Schroeder said. The jurors are now exempt from serving for four years.
Twelve jurors were chosen at random, with Rittenhouse himself being tapped by Judge Schroeder to pick alternates by hand-selecting six pieces of paper from a tumbler. The move is considered highly unusual though not illegal. The six jurors chosen at random by Rittenhouse waited inside the Kenosha County courthouse in case they were needed. Throughout the trial and even into deliberations, jurors were never sequestered. They were simply told not to talk about the case or watch, listen to, or read anything to do with it.
Rittenhouse appeared overwhelmed about the outcome, crying and hugging attorney Corey Chirafisi as attorney Natalie Wisco handed him some water. He faced five charges—one of which carried a mandatory life sentence—over his killing of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum last August during protests over the police shooting of a Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse also shot and injured Gaige Grosskreutz at the time, severing his bicep.
Two charges were thrown out over the course of the trial: failure to comply with an emergency order from state or local government, which the judge dismissed over what he claimed was not enough evidence from prosecutors; and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. Schroeder took issue with the Wisconsin law and claimed that the size of the gun’s barrel that Rittenhouse was carrying exempted him from breaking that law.