New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday said the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on charges stemming from his killing of two men and wounding a third during civil rights protests last year shows the US justice system is protecting the privileged.
“What we are witnessing is a system functioning as designed and protecting those it was designed for,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Friday afternoon, shortly after a jury acquitted Mr Rittenhouse on all charges,
“My heart still breaks for the communities and families whose grief now compounds, and the countless others who will be denied and deprived in similar scenes across the country,” she added.
Her colleague and fellow Democratic “squad” member, Missouri Rep Cori Bush, called Mr Rittenhouse’s acquittal “white supremacy in action” in a separate tweet.
“This system isn’t built to hold white supremacists accountable. It’s why Black and brown folks are brutalized and put in cages while white supremacist murderers walk free,” she wrote. “I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m heartbroken”.
Massachusetts Rep Ayanna Pressley and Michigan Rep Rashida Tlaib each weighed in a short time later, with Ms Pressley declaring “racism and white supremacy” to be “the bedrock of our legal system”.
“My heart breaks for the family & loved ones of those whose lives were stolen, and the trauma our communities face today and every day,” she wrote. “The struggle for accountability, for justice, for healing goes on”.
Ms Tlaib, a second-term Democrat, wrote that the justice system is “broken” and “protects white supremacy”.
“The two people who were killed deserved justice and so did our communities who continue be targeted with violence like this,” she added.
A Kenosha County, Wisconsin jury found Mr Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges after approximately 26 hours of deliberation. His attorneys argued that he was justified in fatally shooting two and wounding another because he was defending himself from attack.
The 18-year-old’s defence became a cause celebre in right-wing circles since video of the shootings went viral on the night in question.
Several Republican members of Congress have made public offers to hire Mr Rittenhouse as an intern next year.
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