BY JANICA STOCKING
On November 19, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. The now 18-year-old was faced 7 charges that, upon conviction, would force him to spend the rest of his life in prison. The incident that led to the trial was the unrest going on in Kenosha, Wisconsin during the late summer of 2020. The then-17-year-old Rittenhouse shot and killed 2 men and wounded another during the riots and was armed. Following his being charged, he and his defense team claimed his actions were that of self-defense.
The prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, charged Rittenhouse with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, two counts of reckless endangerment, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, and one count of curfew violation. The weapons charge was dismissed by Judge Bruce Schroeder due to a technicality in the Wisconsin criminal law code allowing for Rittenhouse to legally carry the firearm in question. During the trial, there was even a juror dismissed due to a “crude joke” made regarding Jacob Blake. Jacob Blake’s death was the event that sparked the riots in Kenosha. This move was seen as an attempt to demonstrate the importance of the trial and show his neutrality in the case. While the actions of Judge Schroeder have been questioned by multiple legal analysts and scholars, most have come to the conclusion that his actions throughout the duration of the Rittenhouse trial he made the correct calls because of how public the trial was.
One of the most controversial issues with the trial was the banning of MSNBC from the courtroom. This decision was made after an employee, James Morrison, for the NBCUniversal owned news channel received a citation for a traffic violation near the van carrying the jurors on November 17, 2021. He was suspected to be attempting to take photographs of the jurors. Judge Schroeder said that the matter was “very serious” and that Morrison was “under the supervision of a manager at NBC News in New York who allegedly asked him to follow the jurors.” Despite all of the controversies and drama surrounding this trial, the jury was able to come to the conclusion, after 4 days of deliberations, that Kyle Rittenhouse was not guilty of all charges.