After the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial returned a verdict of “not guilty,” Democratic politicians and pundits reacted in outrage, alleging that the U.S. justice system is hopelessly compromised by racial bias.
Nikole Hannah Jones, the mastermind behind the New York Times’ “1619” project, which was designed to inculcate in students a revisionist American history teaching that slavery is intrinsic to the country’s national fabric, said that the dismissal of Rittenhouse’s charges proves that systemic racism is alive and well in the U.S.
“In this country, you can even kill white people and get away with it if those white people are fighting for Black lives. This is the legacy of 1619,” she tweeted.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio slammed the decision, insisting that the men Rittenhouse fatally shot are “victims,” despite the jury arriving at the conclusion that he acted in self-defense.
“Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum are victims. They should be alive today. The only reason they’re not is because a violent, dangerous man chose to take a gun across state lines and start shooting people. To call this a miscarriage of justice is an understatement,” he tweeted Friday following the ruling.
Joy Reid, liberal host of MSNBC’s The Reid Out, suggested that Rittenhouse would have been pronounced guilty if he was a black man who similarly fired his weapon in self-defense.
“We knew, but it’s sometimes helpful to remind ourselves how America was designed to work. It continues to work as designed. We have learned again what is considered legal for *some* people to do in America. It’s helpful to know where you stand in your country. Be safe out there,” she tweeted.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who facilitated the sexual harassment case against former Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, also condemned the verdict and called for an overhaul of the justice system because of it.
“This is a dark day for our justice system. As a lawyer, I respect jury verdicts. But this is yet another reminder that our system needs to be uprooted and reformed,” she said.
Cuomo also weighed in on the news, repeating the idea that the verdict perpetuates white supremacy.
“Today’s verdict is a stain on the soul of America, & sends a dangerous message about who & what values our justice system was designed to protect,” he said.
We must stand unified in rejecting supremacist vigilantism & with one voice say: this is not who we are
MSNBC pundit Ben Rhodes implied that Rittenhouse’s acquittal would empower other aspiring private individuals with superhero complexes to intervene on behalf of law enforcement and escalate situations that otherwise might have been peaceful.
“A very dark message sent to all the other heavily armed would-be vigilantes out there,” he wrote.
Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux (D., Ga.), disappointed with the ruling, said that the legal definition of self-defense should be re-evaluated.
“The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse is an example of why the nation must re-examine self-defense laws in our justice system. When you seek out violence wielding a dangerous weapon, there should be accountability for deadly results,” she said.
Anti-Second Amendment advocacy group March for Our Lives released a statement in the aftermath of the verdict, claiming that “young people are enraged watching this trial, and this will not be our normal.” The statement asserted that Rittenhouse was motivated to engage in the Kenosha unrest because “our leaders stoke white supremacy.” All three of the men Rittenhouse shot were white. The organization also blamed the lack of gun restrictions for the incident, arguing that “it’s easier to get a gun than to get a driver’s license.”