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RWRJ Response to Rittenhouse Not Guilty Verdict

Racine Women for Racial Justice (RWRJ) would like to thank Kenosha District Attorney, Michael D. Gravely, for bringing significant charges against Kyle Rittenhouse for the killings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and the serious wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz.

We are disappointed in, but not surprised by, the verdict and stand in solidarity with the victims and their families.

With nationwide interest in the case and millions of dollars pouring in from right wing groups to fund the defense of Rittenhouse, it was always an uphill battle for prosecutors to convict him. It is also unfortunate that the jury was not representative of the racial makeup of the city of Kenosha.

“Rittenhouse’s privilege afforded him advantages in this case that are almost never available to Black, Indigenous, People of Color,” said RWRJ Executive Director, Kelly Scroggins-Powell. “It is not that the system is broken; it was designed this way.”

While we are dismayed that the jury saw fit to exonerate someone who came heavily armed to a protest and shot three people, we are more concerned about the message this verdict sends to those who support peaceful protest for racial justice. If white supremacists and vigilantes feel emboldened to threaten protesters, it may have a chilling effect on people’s willingness to exercise their First Amendment right to assembly.

Above all, this verdict illustrates that we have much work to do in our communities to elect and appoint public officials who will support the hard work of reversing systemic racism. If Kenosha police had not shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back, there would have been no protest. The fact remains that the excessive use of force against Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) by police is a manifestation of systemic racism that will continue to result in protests.

We re-affirm our commitment to shining a light on the policing and judicial practices that perpetuate unfair treatment of BIPOC. And we encourage those who would join us in our fight against systemic racism to continue to protest freely and peacefully.

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