Jurors in Kenosha (Wisconsin) found Kyle Rittenhouse innocent on Friday afternoon. It was the third day of deliberations, and 15th day in the murder trial. Rittenhouse could have received a mandatory sentence of life if he was found guilty of the crime of first-degree intentional murder.
Reactions spread quickly across Twitter within minutes after the verdict was read. There was widespread anger that the defendant was not charged. As the #Murderer hashtag started trending, many argued race was a factor.
Too many injustices went unjust!
“Kyle Rittenhouse, a living example of how white tears can prevent justice from being done to him,” said Rep. Andriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.). A murderer is once again walking free today — our system is terribly broken,” wrote Rep. Andriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.).
Chris “Swaggy” Williams, YouTube influencer and YouTube host (@SwaggyCTV), made it clear that racism was an issue in his verdict. He posted, “If a Black teen from Bronx drove several states to the Capitol with an Ar, then put himself into the mix and killed two people. He would be imprisoned for the rest of his life. White people will scream that he killed his family and drove himself there. You got it, y’all!
Ashley Nicole Moss, a sports journalist (@AshNicoleMoss), also claimed that race played a role, writing “Kyle Rittenhouse, a MURDERER.” despite the narrative some people would like to push — he’s not an American hero defending this ‘great land’ and no verdict will change that fact. He just has the right skin to defend himself against his crimes. It is quite shocking, but it’s not surprising.”
“A white male double murderer is not guilty but a Black man would’ve gotten a life sentence,” tweeted radio personality Tara Dublin (@taradublinrocks).
Digital Media Management’s Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) tweeted, “Kyle Rittenhouse is a murderer, but at least he’s a white murderer so he’ll never have to worry about any consequences for his actions! Disgusting.”
Wajahat Ali, @WajahatAli wrote that “it’s great to be a white killer.”
“Every single thing about that trial was incredibly f**ked, and the judge was beyond biased. “I don’t believe a word about the absence of conviction and I’m not sure anyone is saying ‘well, that’s it, guess he wasn’t a murderer.’ Like ??????Like??????
Jamira Burley, activist (@JamiraBurley), also wrote, “#KyleRittenhouse was a murderer. I don’t require a jury for that to be confirmed.”
Norman Ornstein (a contributing editor and scholar at American Enterprise Institute) stated that “not the first or the last time” that a murderer is able to get away with it. Atlantic.
Rosanna Arquette (@RoArquette), said that murderer Kyle Rittenhouse is not a crime.
Political commentator and former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) was even more concise and blunt, “F**k this murderer.”
Chris Hayes, MSNBC (@Chrislhayes), tweeted some thoughts that compared Rittenhouse to George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was also acquitted on murder charges. Hayes wrote, “Honestly hope the kid takes advantage of the opportunity to change his life and try to make the world better than trying to follow the George Zimmerman Life Trajectory.”
Public Citizen, a watchdog organization (@Public_Citizen), also made the comparison with George Zimmerman’s case. “Travyon Martin” was a 17-year old unarmed kid. A bag of skittles was his weapon of choice when he was shot to death. Right-wingers called him dangerous. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was armed. His AR-15 was used to kill 2 people. His right-wing supporters call him a “hero”.
You are not guilty!
Many people also supported the verdict by weighing in. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, a Republican senator, posted that he believed justice had been done in the Kyle Rittenhouse case. It is my hope that all will be able to accept this verdict.
David Hookstead, Daily Caller reporter (@dhookstead), tweeted: “I hope Kyle Rittenhouse sues all media members and government officials who have called him racist and murderer.” They must be held responsible for these lies. They wanted to end his life. He has every right to sue them.
“NOT GUILTY. Kyle Rittenhouse is completely free. The criminal mob corporate enterprise that is masquerading as a movement concerned about black lives— FAILS. Justice wins the day,” tweets Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO), conservative author.
Former Democratic presidential hopeful and former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) seemed to support the verdict while condemning the investigation, tweeting, “The jury got it right—finding Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges. This is the evidence that Rittenhouse was not guilty of all charges, and should therefore be considered criminal.
It shouldn’t surprise that people react so strongly to contentious trials. We hope that this will remain a battle of words via social media and not spill out onto the streets.