Kyle Rittenhouse case highlights inequality in the justice system


Peg Hunter | Flickr

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

America faced yet another rude awakening about the role their justice system played in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Rittenhouse’s acquittal in his role in the murder of two alleged Black Lives Matter protestors reveals the country’s true opinion about the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The trial further fuels the arguments that there is inequality in the U.S. Justice System while also dividing the country further on gun rights in the nation.

Rittenhouse, a resident of Illinois, drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin with an AR-15 style weapon during a protest following the August 2020 police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake. He was later charged with multiple counts of homicide and safety endangerment-related charges.

Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges.

From making unacceptable jokes to heated exchanges with the prosecutor in the trial, it is safe to say that the judge in the case should have recused himself.

In a politically charged case, it is no surprise that accusations of bias floated around Judge Bruce Schroeder, the judge who presided over the Rittenhouse trial.

During the trial, Schroeder had accused prosecutors of distorting evidence by showing a video on an iPad while pinching to zoom in, after the defense claimed the “pinch to zoom” feature could lead to artificial intelligence distorting the video.

It is no secret that the criminal justice system is flawed in many ways. It typically tips in favor of white people compared to their Black counterparts.

A prime example of inequality is the fact that the Rittenhouse trial was deliberated by an all-white jury over only three days. One of the most notable critiques of a United States trial is how a defendant’s “jury of your peers” does not reflect the diversity of the country.

Both Rittenhouse’s actions and the trial’s decision proved that there is a disdain for the Black Lives Matter Movement among some people in the country. While Black Lives Matter continues to be negatively portrayed in the media, Rittenhouse is becoming a hero of the far-right, being offered internships from unrespectable politicians.

In his first interview since his acquittal, Rittenhouse sat down with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, where not only did he express support for the Black Lives Matter Movement, but he said that race has nothing to with his case. page1image39922368 page1image39921216

“This case has nothing to do with race. It never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defense,” Rittenhouse said to Carlson.

Rittenhouse’s actions occurred during the climax of the summer 2020 protests, a series of protests where racial tension between the police and communities in the United States was center stage.

It should be noted that the victims of Rittenhouse’s actions were indeed white people.

36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber died, while now 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz was shot in the arm.

People may hear opposition in their everyday debates with others about the Rittenhouse verdict, with some saying that race had no factor in this case or that it was about self-defense. Both can be correct.

For the “self-defense” argument, Americans looked at Rittenhouse’s acquittal and saw the vindication of a good kid with innocent intentions. Rittenhouse’s lawyer argued that Rosenbaum approached the then 17-year-old and attempted to “engage” him, leading to Rittenhouse running away and Rosenbaum pursuing him.

For the race argument, he saw a protest of people standing by a Black victim of police brutality and his first instinct was to travel state lines with a heavy firearm due to his belief that instead of peaceful protesting, he saw rioting and wanted to protect property.

There is a way to begrudgingly think that the verdict was justified while not portraying Rittenhouse as the victim at the same time.

Rittenhouse’s unsurprising “not guilty” verdict, and the response to it, only helped the nation reveal its colors once again.

While their true treatment toward Black people has always been called out, people siding with Rittenhouse’s self-defense claims prove that crude methods will always be the first choice when dealing with protestors in today’s climate.