On Nov. 19 in Wisconsin, a Kenosha County jury composed of seven women and five men acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges against him, finding the teenage gunman acted in self-defense when he fatally shot two men and injured a third.
The jury deliberated for more than 25 hours over four days before reaching a decision, The Chicago Tribune noted.
Although the judge gave jurors instructions to put aside political tensions surrounding the case, several members indicated during the selection process that they worried a verdict would only stoke anger. Indeed, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers activated 500 National Guard members and sent them to Kenosha in anticipation of the trial's conclusion.
CBS 2 Chicago noted that there were audible gasps in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Rittenhouse, 18, himself was emotional and was on the verge of collapse.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he went from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha after businesses in the city were ransacked and burned over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer, The Chicago Sun-Times related.
Carrying a weapon that authorities said was illegally purchased for the underage Rittenhouse, he joined other armed citizens in what he said was an effort to protect property and provide medical aid. Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, then shot to death protester Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded demonstrator Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28.
According to Deadline, many celebrities reacted to the ruling with outrageand a lack of surprise. Shameless actor Emmy Rossum tweeted, "This is a devastating blow," while LeVar Burton said, "Tell me again there are not two kinds [of] justice in America."