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Reactions immediately pour in on Rittenhouse acquittals; Biden stands by verdict

(The Center Square) – Responses to the jury acquittal of all five charges leveled against Kyle Rittenhouse were varied, but President Joe Biden says he stands by the verdict.

"I stand by what the jury has concluded," Biden said when asked about it by reporters upon returning to the White House after receiving a routine physical and colonoscopy. "The jury system works and we have to abide by it.”

Biden didn't directly respond to a question about whether he stood by comments last year equating Rittenhouse to a white supremacist.

Rittenhouse shot and killed two men and wounded another in Kenosha during a June 2020 riot prompted by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. The thre people Rittenhouse shot were white men.

Rittenhouse was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and reckless endangering. Judge Bruce Schroeder on Monday dismissed a misdemeanor charge of illegal possession of a weapon by a person under 18 against Rittenhouse. The 18-year-old Rittenhouse, who was 17 in June 2020, claimed he shot the three men in self-defense.

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is also a 2022 candidate for Wisconsin governor, applauded the verdict.

“Our justice system worked today,” Kleefisch tweeted. “The prosecution in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial was a complete disgrace, praising the mob who burned our streets as ‘heroes.’”

Kleefisch was referring to remarks made in the prosecution’s closing remarks in which Thomas Binger depicted the men shot by Rittenhouse as “heroes” while also calling Rittenhouse “an active shooter.”

“The Rittenhouse case was a clear case of self-defense based on the evidence presented. The initial media narrative was false. Justice prevailed,” former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, Grand Rapids, Mich., said.

Last week, Gov. Tony Evers activated nearly 500 National Guardsman to assist with law enforcement in anticipation of possible violent protests.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes found the verdicts a miscarriage of justice.

“Over the last few weeks, many dreaded the outcome we just witnessed. The presumption of innocence until proven guilty is what we should expect from the justice system, but that standard is not always applied equally. We have seen so many black and brown youths killed, only to be put on trial posthumously, while the innocence of Kyle Rittenhouse was virtually demanded by the judge,” Barnes tweeted.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, who represents Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District, concurred with Barnes.

“A system that legitimizes vigilante murder is deeply broken,” Moore tweeted.

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