Donald Trump has congratulated Kyle Rittenhouse for his homicide acquittal for shooting and killing two protesters and wounding another at a demonstration against racial injustice in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August last year.
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz during often violent protests in the summer of 2020 following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Mr. Rittenhouse, 18, shot the men with an AR-15-style assault rifle on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 25 August 2020, but claimed if was in self-defence.
Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, faced charges ranging from intentional homicide to reckless and attempted homicide.
The jury who acquitted the teen was made up of seven women and five men. They deliberated from Tuesday morning and heard from more than 30 witnesses during two weeks of testimony.
The case focused on whether Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed two men and wounded a third during a night of protests and civil unrest last year.
Rittenhouse had faced five charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a sentence of life in prison, before he was found him not guilty of all charges
“Congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse for being found INNOCENT of all charges. It’s called being found NOT GUILTY—And by the way, if that’s not self defense, nothing is!” said the former president in a statement posted on Twitter by his spokesperson Liz Harrington.
The verdict was also celebrated by some Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, and Madison Cawthorn. They all joked about offering Rittenhouse an internship.
Trump’s congratulatory statement follows his defense of the teen in August 2020. Speaking to reporters at a press conference, the former president said: “He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like, and he fell, and then they very violently attacked him.”
President Joe Biden defended the jury’s decision on Friday, telling the press the “jury system works,” but added that he and many other Americans were “angry and concerned” about the verdict.