Opposing sides demonstrate outside Kenosha County Courthouse, awaiting verdict in Rittenhouse trial
Day two of jury deliberations in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse ended without a verdict Wednesday at the Kenosha County Courthouse.
Rittenhouse is the 18-year-old from Illinois who shot and killed two men and injured a third during unrest in Kenosha last summer that followed the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, Jr.
Rittenhouse was 17 at the time and is claiming self-defense.
Outside the courthouse, supporters of both Rittenhouse and the men Rittenhouse killed, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, gathered while jury deliberations were underway.
Supporters of Huber and Rosenbaum stood on the courthouse steps holding several signs Wednesday. Some read: “Lock Up Kyle for A While,” “Justice for the Victims” and “Black Lives Matter.”
And while on the steps, they chanted:
“No justice, no peace. No justice no peace. If we don’t get it, shut it down. If we don’t get it shut it down.”
Xavier Simmons is an organizer from Racine and co-founder of the organization Change is Coming. Simmons had been demonstrating outside the courthouse for three days.
Simmons said he was there because he doesn’t agree with how the trial is going, for example, the fact that the gun possession and curfew violation charges were dropped.
Simmons said the system is failing communities of color and the families of Huber and Rosenbaum, who were white. "If it was a Black person in front of this judge, he’ll probably be already charged with murder and then put in prison for life."
Simmons said he’s hoping for a guilty verdict on all five counts but added that his gut is telling him that Rittenhouse will walk free.
But Rittenhouse walking free is what Steve Stewart wants. He said he feels strongly that Rittenhouse is being wrongly prosecuted. Stewart said he’s “fully expecting” a not guilty verdict.
"But you never know with a jury. It’s one of the risks when you have to take self-defense. And I guess the saying is, 'it’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six,' and I think that’s the decision Kyle had to make in a fraction of a second, and he did a way better job of making that decision than I could’ve done," said Stewart.
Stewart said if there had been more of what he calls “civic-minded” and “law-abiding” people out with Rittenhouse last August, Rittenhouse wouldn’t have been backed into a corner by himself.