On Friday afternoon, jurors in Kenosha, Wisconsin found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts. The verdict came on the fourth day of deliberations and the 15th day of the murder trial. Had Rittenhouse, 18, been found guilty of the charge of first-degree intentional homicide, he could have faced a mandatory life sentence.
Within minutes of the verdict being read, reactions spread across Twitter, and there was a wave of widespread outrage that he was acquitted on the charges. Many argued that race was the factor in the case, as the hashtags #Murderer and #NotGuilty began to trend.
To many justice was not served!
“Kyle Rittenhouse is living proof that white tears can still forestall justice. A murderer is once again walking free today — our system is terribly broken,” wrote Rep. Andriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.).
YouTube host and influencer Chris “Swaggy C” Williams (@SwaggyCTV) made his opinion clear that race was a factor in the verdict, posting, “If a black teen from the Bronx left his house and drove a few states over to the Capitol with an AR, put himself in the mix, and killed 2 people .. He’d be in jail for life. White people would cry that he drove himself there and he’s a murderer. But y’all got it”
Sports journalist Ashley Nicole Moss (@AshNicoleMoss) also argued that race was at play, writing, “Kyle Rittenhouse is 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 simply has the right skin color for protection from his crimes. sickening, but not shocking.”
“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.”
“It’s good to be a white murderer,” suggested writer Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli).
“Every single thing about that trial was incredibly f**ked, and the judge was beyond biased. I don’t trust a single thing about the lack of conviction, and anyone who is going ‘well that’s that, guess he’s not a murderer!’ Like ???????,” tweeted blogger and consumer advocate Rhys Morgan (@rhysmorgan).
“A system that legitimizes vigilante murder is deeply broken,” wrote Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.), who represents the state’s 4th congressional district
Activist Jamira Burley (@JamiraBurley) also posted, “#KyleRittenhouse is a murderer, I don’t need a jury to confirm that.”
“Not the first time, nor the last, that a murderer gets away with it,” noted Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and contributing editor for The Atlantic.
“Murderer Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted is a crime in itself,” stated actress/activist Rosanna Arquette (@RoArquette)
Political commentator and former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) was even more concise and blunt, “F**k this murderer.”
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (@Chrislhayes) weighed in with some thoughts comparing Rittenhouse with George Zimmerman, who was also acquitted of murder charges. Hayes tweeted, “Honestly hope that kid takes the opportunity to turn his life around and tries to make the world a better place rather than pursuing the George Zimmerman Life Trajectory.”
The watchdog group Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) also made a comparison to the George Zimmerman case, “Travyon Martin was an unarmed 17-year-old kid. He was killed carrying a bag of skittles. The right-wing called him a threat. Kyle Rittenhouse was 17 years old and armed. He shot and killed 2 people with an AR-15. The right-wing calls him a hero.”
There were also plenty who weighed in to offer their support for the verdict. Among those was Wisconsin’s Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who posted, “I believe justice has been served in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. I hope everyone can accept the verdict, remain peaceful, and let the community of Kenosha heal and rebuild.”
“Justice has prevailed for Kyle Rittenhouse. In America, we have trial by jury. Not by the media. Not by Hollywood celebrities. And definitely not by liberal blue checkmarks on Twitter. Americans have a Second Amendment right to self defense and we will never surrender it,” tweeted Congresswoman for Illinois’s 15th district Mary Miller.
The Daily Caller reporter David Hookstead (@dhookstead) tweeted, “I hope Kyle Rittenhouse sues every single media member and government official who called him a racist and a murderer. Hold these people accountable for their lies. They tried to ruin his life. He deserves to sue them for all they’re worth.”
“NOT GUILTY. Kyle Rittenhouse is free. The criminal mob corporate enterprise that is masquerading as a movement concerned about black lives— FAILS. Justice wins the day,” tweeted conservative author Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO).
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. The fact that charges were brought before any serious investigation is evidence that the government was motivated by politics, which itself should be considered criminal.”
Such reactions to a highly contentious trial shouldn’t be the least bit unexpected. The hope now is that it remains a war of words on social media, rather than spilling out on the streets.