By: Ahmad Izzah, Student of Tanjungpura University
25th August 2020 was a day that many eyes from national or even international with two protesters’ deaths. It wounded one protester by a 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse with a semi-automatic rifle.
The protest and the demonstration sparked by the shot of Jacob Blake, a black American, shot by white police in Kenosha seven times, resulting in Blake being paralyzed from the waist down.
The police accused Blake of getting a knife from his car, which turned out that Blake did not have any knife or even an object that could be used as a weapon.
According to New York Times in “Tracking the Suspect in the Fatal Kenosha Shootings, looking back at the night of 25th August 2020, Kyle fatally shot in a short-range with AR-15-type-rifle, killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, Anthony Huber, 26, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 27. Before the shooting, Rittenhouse mentioned that he was at Kenosha to protect businesses and assist protesters who were probably wounded.
However, things got out of hand when an unknown group of protesters chased Rittenhouse before the first shooting. When Rittenhouse tripped and fell, he then shot ‘unintentionally’ and appeared to get Rosenbaum and Huber by the head and the chest and shot Grosskreutz by the arm. After the shooting, Rittenhouse then walked to police vehicles that appeared to be military police stationed blocks away from the incident.
As he walked towards the vehicles with his hands in the air, bystanders shouted, ‘he is the shooter’ many times. However, policies pass Rittenhouse as if that nothing happens and directly assist and control the situation. That night, Rittenhouse was able to get home and take some sleep.
On 19th November 2021, Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. Previously, he was charged with first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intention homicide, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide. The charges are equivalent to a maximum life sentence in prison.
The acquittal of Rittenhouse hinged on a specific detail of self-defense law in Wisconsin, considering that demonstrators chased him. Rittenhouse claimed he unintentionally killed Rosenbaum and Huber by saying he ‘self-defense’ himself from running away from the demonstrators, thus, it was quoted from Richmond in EXPLAINER: What charges did Kyle Rittenhouse published by AP News in November 20, 2021.
Judge Bruce Schroeder’s handling of the case drew scrutiny among viewers and legal experts in several points, including when the prosecutor could not call Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz as ‘victims’ at the trial.
He also applauds the military officers at the scene that night to testify to the case. Lastly, he let Rittenhouse himself draw alternate jurors, which led to many questions and critics on how Schroeder’s handled the court. Others questioned whether Schroeder’s influenced the jury.
“From the outcome, this case has openly proved the cracks in our justice system. From the biased and embarrassing routine by the judge to the officers who are present in the scene and witnessed by the court that does nothing,” said Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer who has represented families of Jacob Blake, as quoted from AP News in Black Americans see biased system in Rittenhouse verdict by Travyon Martin, and Ahmad Aubrey.
What shows from this verdict was an irony of race that becomes controversial for many sectors. A similar case happened in October; according to AP News (20/11), Frankie Cooks’s 20-year-old-son, Tyree Sherrod Cooks, who is black, was charged with opening fires at several men who she says attacked him Kenosha as Station.
Tyree faces five felony counts. She mentions that there is no such thing as a Wisconsin self-defense law.
“You cannot tell me that these Intentions are not sick,” said Kyle Johnson, an organizer with Black Leaders Organizing Communities to AP News.
What appears to be an injustice to the case shows an entirely biased result having the reason for the verdict, ‘self-defense.’ Many legal experts claimed that it had to be from the race Rittenhouse comes from. “If we were talking a black man, the conversation and the outcome would be starkly different.”
According (Gross et al. 2017), his proves a legitimate statement of racial injustice in partially any system. According to an article published in New York Post 2015, an astonishing 55% of citizens have been falsely accused of crimes, and 42% of others are officially misconducted. The reason of unjustly imprisoned are mainly because of race, religion, and economic background.
Over 22% of the population in the USA have falsely accused are African Americans. This also happens to a Muslim, Muhammad A. Aziz, falsely accused of murdering Malcolm X in 1965. Sadly, he already served 55 years in prison and got exonerated officially on 18th November 2021(“Historic and Long Overdue Exonerations of Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam for the 1965 Assassination of Malcolm X,” 2021).
In conclusion, Rittenhouse’s verdict created fear in protestors or even minorities such as African Americans, Muslims, Hispanics, and so on, against racial injustice. The main concern was Jacob Blake, a Black American who got shot seven times in the back and could not walk again, forever, and the policemen who shot them are roaming the streets of Kenosha today, and this is not the very first case. (AK/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)