Rittenhouse verdict upholds political rights workers need

By Naomi Craine
December 6, 2021

CHICAGO — On Nov. 19 a jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin, unanimously found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges in the killing of two men and wounding of a third while defending himself during riots in August 2020 after the police shot and partially paralyzed Jacob Blake Jr. 

The verdict was immediately condemned by many liberals and middle-class leftists. Hundreds marched here, in New York, Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere, claiming the jury’s verdict was an outrageous act of “white supremacy.” They engaged in looting and rioting.

Even though he admitted he “didn’t watch the trial,” so he couldn’t possibly know the facts, President Joseph Biden said the verdict “will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included”! Jesse Jackson called for Biden to start a federal investigation to pursue further prosecution. 

But the jury’s verdict does  fit the facts of the case. “Mr. President, if I could say one thing to you,” Rittenhouse responded Nov. 22, “I would urge you to go back and watch the trial and understand the facts before you make a statement.” 

For those who claim Rittenhouse is a “white supremacist” and murderer, the facts don’t matter. And neither do political rights, like the presumption of innocence and the constitutional right to due process, that the working class and our unions need. 

In the interview, Rittenhouse said, “I’m not a racist person, I support the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement. I support peacefully demonstrating. And I believe there needs to be change, I believe there’s a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case, but in other cases. And it’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of somebody. 

“If they did this to me, imagine what they could have done to a person of color who doesn’t maybe have the resources I do or is not widely publicized like my case,” he said

The shootings took place Aug. 25, 2020, on the third night after the police shot Blake Jr. The previous two days saw large protests, followed by night-time rioting and arson by antifa anarchists, a layer of Black Lives Matter supporters, and others, many carrying weapons. Rittenhouse, then 17 and working in Kenosha, where his father lives, volunteered to come out that night to help with first aid and to defend a local car lot from damage. He carried an AR-15-style rifle. 

What came out of the trial

Video and testimony at the trial, much of it coming out of the prosecution’s case itself, supported Rittenhouse’s contention that he was under attack and only fired his weapon in self-defense. He shot Joseph Rosenbaum after Rosenbaum had more than once threatened to kill him, and after Rosenbaum charged him and tried to seize his rifle. 

When Rittenhouse retreated, looking for cops to turn himself in, he was chased by a mob who threw cement blocks and other objects at him. Someone kicked him in the head and neck, driving him to the ground. He shot Anthony Huber only after Huber bashed Rittenhouse in the head with his skateboard and tried to grab his gun. Much of this was caught on video and shown during the trial. 

Then Gaige Grosskreutz came after him. He acknowledged on the witness stand that Rittenhouse only shot him in the arm after he pointed his own pistol in his face. In an unusual move, Rittenhouse testified in his own defense. The state prosecutors failed to undermine his account.

Many complaints from those who disregard the evidence insist the trial was tainted by the conduct of Judge Bruce Schroeder. The judge’s rulings “seemed to favor the defense in questionable ways,” claimed the liberal Washington Post. 

Schroeder, who was appointed in 1983 by a Democratic governor, was denounced for ruling that the three people who were shot could not be referred to in court as “victims,” because that implies that Rittenhouse committed a crime, which is exactly what the prosecution had to prove. This is standard policy for many judges, regardless of who the defendant is. 

The judge also said the defense could refer to those shot as “arsonists,” “rioters,” and “looters” — if  evidence was presented backing up those descriptions. Widely unreported was his ruling that the prosecution could refer to Rittenhouse as a “cold-blooded killer” — if  evidence was presented to justify that. None was. 

The fact is, there is little to knock Schroeder for, which is the best you can hope for in a capitalist “justice” system that’s stacked against the working class.

Regardless, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick tweeted, “We just witnessed a system built on white supremacy validate the terroristic acts of a white supremacist.” 

Accusing those you disagree with of being racist or a “white supremacist” has become the stock-in-trade of the left. It’s a way of stifling debate, as well as glorifying anything done in the name of “anti-racism,” including thuggery and looting. All of this is dangerous for the working class.

Both Rittenhouse and his attorney, Mark Richards, denounced those who’ve tried to claim the 18 year old as their own. Richards called out conservative political figures seeking to profit from the acquittal. “They’re raising money on it and you have all these Republican congressmen saying come work for me,” he said. “They want to trade on his celebrity and I think it’s disgusting.” 

“This is something I wish never would have happened, but it did, and we can’t change that,” Rittenhouse said. “But how polarized it became is absolutely sickening. Right or left, people using me for a cause that should never have been used as a cause.”