WASHINGTON, Nov 23 — The US teen cleared of murder after killing two people amid unrest over police mistreatment of African-Americans said that his politically charged case was not about race.
Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted by a jury Friday in the August 2020 shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, told Fox News that he himself supported the Black Lives Matter movement behind protests around the country last year against police brutality.
“This case has nothing to do with race. It never had anything to do with race, it had to do with the right to self-defence,” he told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview to be broadcast Monday evening.
“I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement, I support peacefully demonstrating,” Rittenhouse, 18, said in an excerpt of the interview released ahead of the broadcast.
Rittenhouse said his case showed him that people can be unfairly prosecuted.
“I believe there’s a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case but in other cases. It’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone,” he said.
Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, shot dead two white men and wounded another with his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle during riots that followed anti-police protests in Kenosha.
Accused of homicide, the jury accepted his argument that he was defending himself from attack by the three men.
Rittenhouse said he had travelled to Kenosha from neighbouring Illinois to help protect private property from damage in riots that erupted after Kenosha police shot and paralysed a Black man, Jacob Blake.
Before the incident, on his Facebook page Rittenhouse had endorsed the “Blue Lives Matter” campaign to support police that came in response to heavy criticism of law enforcement for frequent killings of Black suspects. — AFP