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Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager acquitted of intentional homicide in the shooting deaths of two men in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year amid unrest over the police killing of a Black man, said he stands by his self-defense claims and even voiced his support of the Black Lives Matters movement.
In his first interview since a jury found him not guilty Friday, Rittenhouse told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that the case had nothing to do with race, according to Fox News. Rittenhouse had been charged after fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle during clashes amid a Black Lives Matter protest. He also shot Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, who survived and testified in the highly politicized trial.
“This case had nothing to do with race,” said Rittenhouse in the sit-down interview. “It never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defense.”
Rittenhouse entered a plea of not guilty earlier this year, while his lawyers argued he acted out of self-defense when he opened fire on the three men.
The defendant was 17 years old on Aug. 23, 2020, when he arrived at the protest in Kenosha with the loaded rifle. The city’s unrest, sparked by the 2020 police shooting of Jacob Blake, highlighted issues of police reform and systematic racism across the county.
“I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement,” Rittenhouse said in the interview, which airs Monday. “I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to be change.”
The teen further claimed to be victimized by the prosecution.
“I believe there’s a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case, but in other cases,” said Rittenhouse. “It’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone.”
Rittenhouse’s self-defense assertions were heavily criticized during the trial. On the third day of unrest in Kenosha, as demonstrations became violent and necessitated the deployment of the National Guard, Rittenhouse was among a group who said their aim was to protect a car dealership that had suffered damage, as previously reported.
“I tell everybody there what happened,” Rittenhouse continued in his interview. “I said I had to do it. I was just attacked. I was dizzy, I was vomiting, I couldn’t breathe.”
Rosenbaum and Huber were unarmed when Rittenhouse fatally shot them.
“We are heartbroken and angry that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in his criminal trial for the murder of our son, Anthony Huber,” Huber’s family said after a jury found the defendant not guilty. “There was no justice today for Anthony or for Mr. Rittenhouse’s other victims, Joseph Rosenbaum and Gaige Grosskreutz.”
Rittenhouse will appear in a Tucker Carlson-produced documentary scheduled to air in December. In the trailer, Rittenhouse discussed his relief following the verdict.
"The jury reached the correct verdict," Rittenhouse said. "Self-defense is not illegal."
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