NewsRittenhouse divides the USA: Now the jury decides on...

Rittenhouse divides the USA: Now the jury decides on his fate

The jury begins its deliberations after a 17-year-old is fatally shot in Kenosha.

Kenosha – He is still a teenager. On August 25, 2020, the then 17-year-old Kyle R. set off for Kenosha in the US state of Wisconsin with a semi-automatic rifle. There he joined armed men who said they wanted to protect shops from looting.

Because the city was in turmoil at that time. After a police officer seriously wounded the black Jacob Blake with multiple shots in the back, numerous people gathered to protest against racism and police violence. The demos were not always peaceful, sometimes under the banner of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

And then suddenly two people were dead, 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber, shot by Kyle R. A third man, Gaige Grosskreutz (26), was seriously injured.

Kenosha: Trump stands behind the shooter

The case seemed clear. But the situation was not that simple. The process is politically charged and is causing a sensation nationwide, as it is related to the Black Lives Matter protests. So the right-wing mobilized in the US. For them, the teenager became a true folk hero, who was almost hymnically adored by many. One example is the right-wing conservative author Ann Coulter, who tweeted on August 27, 2020 that she would like to see the shooter from Kenosha as president.

And the then President Donald Trump fully supported the teenager: He was “in great trouble” because demonstrators had “violently attacked” him, Trump said at the time. “He would probably have been killed.” In any case, Trump repeatedly blamed left groups such as the Antifa for the riots on the sidelines of the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kenosha Trial: Judgment is Imminent

Now the judgment is imminent. A jury jury will start its work today, Tuesday (November 16, 2021). The teen’s lawyers are hoping for an acquittal. They argue that the then 17-year-old acted in self-defense and that the men attacked him. The prosecution denied this, saying it was Kyle R. who “provoked” the situation. He was “to be found guilty on all counts”. The teenager himself had said in court that he “did nothing wrong” but “defended himself”.

The charges include murder. The not undisputed judge Bruce Schroeder asked the jury not to be guided “by sympathy, passion, prejudice or political attitudes”. The opinion of “the President of the United States or that of his predecessor” should not play a role, said Schroeder, referring to Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump.

Kenosha: fear of new unrest

But it’s not that simple. After the presidency of Donald Trump, the country is more divided than ever before. And the Kenosha process is also about which side the people in the USA are on. For some, Kyle R. is a hero, for others he’s just a murderer. It can hardly be assumed that the judgment will be accepted equally by both sides. There is already great fear of renewed excesses.

In any case, Wisconsin’s Governor Tony Evers has already put 500 members of the state’s National Guard on standby as a precaution should there be unrest after a verdict. (cs)

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