About 200 protesters in Portland, Oregon, smashed windows and threw objects at police on Friday night as backlash poured in after a jury cleared Kyle Rittenhouse of the shooting deaths of two people during a protest against racism in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.
Portland Police have rioted after “violent and destructive behavior by a significant portion of the crowd,” with reports that some have spoken of setting the Justice Center on fire.
Police used loudspeakers to call on the crowd to disperse or to face the use of force, including “pepper and impact weapons”.
With reactions pouring in from both sides of the political divide, the Rittenhouse affair has divided the nation, with many highlighting the gap between law enforcement’s treatment of the armed White Militia supporter and anti-racist protesters.
Rittenhouse has become a famous cause for many curators, who have raised funds for his legal team. He had traveled to Kenosha from Illinois amid unrest in the city after a white policeman shot Jacob Blake, who is black, in the back.
After Rittenhouse’s acquittal of all charges was announced, politicians and public figures shared their views on the verdict via social media.
“The verdict in the #KyleRittenhouse This case is a travesty and does not do justice on behalf of those who lost their lives as they peacefully gathered to protest police brutality and violence, ”the NAACP tweeted.
Bernice King, minister and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, said on Twitter: “Justice is not just about verdicts. It’s a continuum. We can mobilize to change our culture, including challenging the difference in how a black teenager would have been engaged in Kenosha. “
Joe Biden, speaking to reporters on Friday, said he “supports” the jury’s decision.
“I stand by what the jury concluded. The jury system is working, ”Biden said before answering questions about his health following a colonoscopy he had earlier today.
In a subsequent statement, the US President called for calm and said: “While Kenosha’s verdict will leave many Americans angry and concerned, including me, we have to acknowledge that the jury has spoken. I ran on the promise to bring Americans together because I believe that what unites us is much greater than what divides us.
Missouri Representative Cori Bush commented on the verdict via Twitter, saying she was “hurt”, “angry” and “heartbroken”.
“It’s white supremacy in action. This system is not designed to hold white supremacists accountable. This is why blacks and browns are brutalized and caged while white supremacist murderers roam free, ”Bush tweeted.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez strongly condemned Rittenhouse’s acquittal, writing on Twitter: “What we are seeing is a system working as intended and protecting those for whom it was designed.
“My heart breaks again for the communities and families whose grief is now worsening, and for the countless others who will be denied and denied in similar scenes across the country,” she wrote.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker also spoke out, saying, “Carrying a loaded gun in a community 20 miles from home and shooting unarmed citizens is fundamentally wrong.
“Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, father of a family, had their whole lives ahead of them. They deserve to be alive today. They deserve justice ”, Pritzker written in a press release. “We have to do better than that.”
Many conservative politicians have celebrated the acquittal of Rittenhouse, whom many on the right have sought to portray as someone who resisted rioting.
“Rittenhouse – NOT GUILTY!” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted shortly after the verdict was announced.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson tweeted: “I think justice has been served in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. I hope everyone can accept the verdict, stay peaceful, and let the Kenosha community heal and rebuild itself.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina also commented on the verdict, Tweeter, “NOT GUILTY” and offering Rittenhouse an internship at Congress.
“You have the right to defend yourself. Be armed, be dangerous and be moral, ”Cawthorn said on Instagram following the ruling.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, “congratulated” Rittenhouse on the verdict. The former president has extinguished a brief statement who said: “If it’s not self-defense, nothing is!”
Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, when he shot them with an assault rifle as he roamed the streets of Kenosha with others self-proclaimed militias during protests in August 2020.