Kyle Rittenhouse cheered as ‘hero to millions’ as he claims homicide trial attempt to come after 2nd Amendment

‘I wanted to tell my story. I wanted to tell the world what happened in Kenosha - the truth’

Andrew Buncombe
Tuesday 21 December 2021 00:51
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Kyle Rittenhouse, the man who was acquitted of homicide charges after fatally shooting two people and wounding a third, was hailed at a “hero to millions” when he appeared before a group of young American conservatives.

Speaking at an event in Phoenix, Arizona, organised by Turning Point USA, a conservative student movement for “freedom, free markets and limited government”, the 18-year-old received rapturous applause and cheers.

Charlie Kirk, the founder of the influential student group, said Mr Rittenhouse had not only not done the wrong thing, but he had “done the right thing”.

“We must say that he did everything right that night, that Kyle acted properly and morally and lawfully when someone tried to kill him,” he said.

He added: “Kyle did the right thing. And he should be applauded.”

In the weeks since the teenager was cleared of all charges over the shooting of three white men, two of them fatally, amid protests for racial justice, Mr Rittenhouse has become something of a hero for many on the right, and defenders of the Second Amendment of the US constitution, which the US Supreme Court has found to give individuals the right to bear arms.

The young man had been charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree attempted intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, after the shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2020.

The largely white jury deliberated for 27 hours over the course of four days before pronouncing him not guilty on all counts. While the news was a shock to some, those watching the trial said under Wisconsin law, the young man has a strong chance of arguing that he had acted in self defence. He did precisely that.

Mr Rittenhouse did not have to take to the witness box to defend himself but he choose to do so. He was asked about why he made that decision.

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“I wanted to tell my story. I wanted to tell the world what happened in Kenosha, the truth, unlike what the prosecution tried to say” he said. “That's why I took the stand.”

In addition to Mr Kirk, Mr Rittenhouse appeared with right wing radio host and podcaster Jack Posobiec, Drew Hernandez, and journalist Elijah Schaffer, of the conservative network, Blaze TV, who filmed a lot of the video showing Mr Rittenhouse shooting the three individuals.

Mr Rittenhouse was asked about his interactions with prosecutor Thomas Binger, from the Kenosha County District Attorney's Office.

He was also asked about the admonitions given to the prosecutor by the judge, and whether the prosecution was “trying to throw the case”.

“Absolutely. I think so,” he said. “I thought they knew they were losing and they wanted a mistrial.”

Asked what he thought had been driving the prosecution, he said: “I think my trial was an example of them trying to come after our Second Amendment rights, a right to defend ourselves, and to take our weapons.”

Joe Biden last year linked Mr Rittenhouse to white supremacists, though they there is no evidence to support that. The young man has asked the president for an apology.

On Monday, Mr Kirk praised Mr Rittenhouse for withstanding such pressure. He said: “You held it all together. You’re a hero to millions.”

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