Kyle Rittenhouse case: Why it so divides the US

Few US trials in recent years have generated such acrimony. What is it about the Kyle Rittenhouse case that so divides the country? Inside the courtroom, the 18-year-old was visibly shaking as he heard the jury clear him of all five charges, including intentional homicide. He killed two men during racial unrest in Wisconsin, but successfully convinced the jury he only used his semi-automatic weapon because he feared for his life. Meanwhile, outside court cars drove past tooting their horns and cheering. Some leaned from windows to shout “Free Kyle!” and “We love the Second Amendment!” Some were distraught at the verdict — one man collapsed on the courtroom steps in tears, saying if Mr Rittenhouse had been black and brandishing a weapon like that, he would have been shot dead. Here’s why the case provoked such deeply held emotions. Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal hinged on the specific details of Wisconsin’s self-defence laws, taking into account Mr Rittenhouse’s state of mind at the moment of shootings. The first occurred when Joseph Rosenbaum tried to grab Mr Rittenhouse’s gun, the next two after two men — one of whom was armed — confronted Mr Rittenhouse following Rosenbaum’s shooting.

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