Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change, issued this statement after a Kenosha County jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of murder:
“Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal doesn’t just add insult to injury in this horrific case; it sends a dangerous and twisted message about how the legal system coddles white defendants accused of unconscionable crimes. For too long, the system — judges, lawyers, police officers — has accepted this as the norm, but we cannot tolerate this kind of negligence anymore; it’s literally killing us.
“Throughout the trial, we’ve seen the structural inequities within the legal system on full display. From dismissing the underage weapons charge to politicizing the straightforward facts of Rittenhouse’s case, Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder presented a case study in how the judiciary upholds systems of white supremacy. And he’s no anomaly. His behavior underscores how the entire legal apparatus perpetuates the existence of two criminal justice systems: one for white people and another for Black people.
“But it’s not just the legal system. Behind Rittenhouse’s outrageous violence lies an entire network of politicians, news outlets, tech companies, and others that allow for, and even encourage, acts of domestic terrorism. These are the same voices that vilify Black protesters fighting for racial justice and defend state-sanctioned police violence against them. Rittenhouse is one person, but his actions are intrinsically tied to a web of white supremacist rhetoric and the nation’s longstanding history of anti-Black violence. That’s why a single verdict does not make or break our movement: because it’s not just Rittenhouse who’s standing trial; it’s the whole system.
“Now, as the Kenosha community and communities across the nation respond to this verdict, Wisconsin governor Tony Evers must remember that these protesters deserve protection. It is irresponsible to condemn and target protesters without addressing the issues and inequities that they are protesting. This case laid bare the privilege and double-standards that belie our legal system, and we will not allow racism — whether in the form of physical violence or in the form of legislation that criminalizes and vilifies protesters — deter us in our fight for justice.”