The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse has delivered its verdict, but it’s not the end of legal proceedings related to the police shooting of Jacob Blake or the shootings that occurred at subsequent protests.
Rittenhouse, 18, faced five charges: first-degree reckless homicide for killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36; first-degree intentional homicide for killing Anthony Huber, 26; and attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28.
He also faced two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment for shooting twice at an unidentified man, and in the direction of Richard McGinniss, a videographer who was in the line of fire when Rittenhouse shot at Rosenbaum.
He was found not guilty Friday on all counts.
Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. He cannot be tried again. The Constitution protects against double jeopardy.
He has been out of custody since posting his $2 million bail in November 2020. The bail money will be returned to whoever posted it now that the case has been resolved.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shootings, has not faced any federal charges and it’s very unlikely federal prosecutors will file any now.
Federal law only applies in homicide cases in vary narrow circumstances, such as the crime occurring on federal land or the victim being an elected federal official.
Rittenhouse was not accused of a hate crime. He is not a member of law enforcement and therefore cannot be charged with depriving anyone of their civil rights as a government agent. He was not accused of a robbery involving a federally insured business, like a bank, or interfering with interstate commerce.
Congressman Jerry Nadler, D-New York, called for a federal review of the case Friday. He serves as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
“This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ,” he tweeted. “Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest.”
This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ. Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest. https://t.co/Uh95Uc1Ddo
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) November 19, 2021
Rittenhouse, who lived in Illinois, did not take the gun across state lines to Kenosha, according to trial testimony and police investigators.
The AR-15 was stored at the Kenosha home of the person who purchased the weapon and Rittenhouse retrieved it there before going to the protests. Rittenhouse, then 17, was not old enough to buy an AR-15 at the time.
The buyer of the AR-15, Dominick Black, does face possible federal exposure related to the straw purchase of the firearm. Black testified during Rittenhouse’s trial and he faces two charges of intentionally giving a dangerous weapon to someone younger than 18, resulting in death, in state court.
Federal authorities have looked into Black’s purchase of the rifle, a spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told the Journal Sentinel earlier this year. Black testified he knew Rittenhouse was younger than 18 when he took Rittenhouse’s money and purchased the gun for him.
How the Kyle Rittenhouse case played out over the last year following the shootings in Kenosha
Who gets the $2 million bail money?
After the shooting, Rittenhouse became a cause célèbre in conservative circles and some gun-rights advocacy groups and donations poured in to support him.
The money was collected by a Texas nonprofit called the #FightBack Foundation, founded by John Pierce and L. Lin Wood.
Pierce used a $2 million check drawn on his Los Angeles-based law firm to bail Rittenhouse out of jail in November 2020. Theoretically, the money would be returned to him now that the case has concluded.
But the Rittenhouse family fired Pierce in February and have accused him and Wood, who left the case last year, of diverting money meant to help Rittenhouse.
In September, a Kenosha lawyer named Xavier Solis filed a letter with the court saying the bail money had come from #FightBack Foundation and should be returned to the organization. Pierce is no longer affiliated with the foundation.
Civil cases to continue
Rittenhouse’s family has hinted at possible defamation lawsuits related to how public figures and media organizations characterized his actions and motivations during the shootings. So far, they have not take any formal legal action.
The father of Anthony Huber has filed a federal civil lawsuit, but not against Rittenhouse. It names the city and county of Kenosha, the sheriff, the acting and former police chiefs, and unnamed officers and deputies. The lawsuit accuses them of racial animus in allowing dozens of armed whites to remain among protesters, leading to conditions that resulted in Huber’s death. The suit remains open.
Jacob Blake has filed a federal lawsuit against Rusten Shesky, the officer who shot him, claiming his use of deadly force was excessive, violated Blake’s rights against unreasonable seizure, and was done with “malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference” to Blake’s rights. The civil case remains ongoing.
Four protesters have sued the city and county of Kenosha. They allege the curfews were selectively enforced against protesters, while officers ignored, or even encouraged, armed men like Rittenhouse. It seeks to be certified as a class action on behalf of all the people cited for curfew violations.
Contact Ashley Luthern at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @aluthern.
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