Demonstrators protest outside of the Kenosha County Courthouse as the jury listens to closing argume...

Twitter Has A Lot To Say About Privilege After The Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict

Many people said they were unsurprised.

by Rhyma Castillo and Lilli Petersen
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Over a year after the shooting at a racial justice demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse’s homicide trial has finally been released. On Friday, Nov. 19, the 18-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, was acquitted on all charges in the shooting deaths of two men and the wounding of a third. Amid the announcement, people all over the internet are using Twitter to express how they feel about the verdict, and calling out the United States’ permissive attitude towards white privilege and violence.

Rittenhouse had been charged with five counts, including homicide and attempted homicide, after killing two men and wounding a third amid protests calling for racial justice in Kenosha. On Aug. 25, 2020, Rittenhouse, then aged 17, fatally shot 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber during protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, who had been shot and paralyzed by Kenosha police on Aug. 23. Rittenhouse also shot and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, who was 26 at the time. Rittenhouse claimed he had feared for his life and was acting in self-defense in the shootings.

Following more than 24 hours of deliberation by jurors, Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all five charges: one count of first degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment with a dangerous weapon, one count of first-degree intentional homicide, and one count of first-degree attempted intentional homicide. He had also been charged with one count of possession of a dangerous weapon by someone under age 18 in connection to the semi-automatic rifle he was carrying the night of the shooting, but Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed that charge on Nov. 15.

Rittenhouse, his trial, and the circumstances of the shootings — a young white man who brought a high-powered gun to counter-protest racial justice demonstrations, and ended up killing two people — have, for many people, once again raised discussion about white privilege, self-defense, and who gets to be seen as a victim. Across social media, people were weighing in following the verdict.

Many people shared they were, sadly, unsurprised at the verdict, and called out what they viewed as systemic white supremacy.

Following the verdict, Rittenhouse’s lawyer, Mark Richards, shared a comment on his client’s reaction to his acquittal. “He’s relieved, and he looks forward to getting on with his life,” Richards said, per The New York Times. “And having a jury of 12 people find him not guilty meant the world to him, in practical and symbolic ways.”