Jacob Blake's attorney says Kyle Rittenhouse trial was a 'travesty' and the teen 'laughed' at accountability
Ben Crump, the attorney for the family of Jacob Blake, called the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial a "travesty."
Crump said the not guilty verdict for the teen, who was accused of shooting three men during civil unrest, exposed "cracks in our justice system."
Crump particularly took issue with the judge in the case, who he accused of bias.
An attorney representing the family of Jacob Blake, the Black man whose shooting by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparked civil unrest that led to Kyle Rittenhouse shooting three men, called the teenager's acquittal on homicide charges a "travesty" that has "pulled back the curtain on the profound cracks in our justice system."
After a jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts Friday, civil rights attorney Ben Crump issued a statement, saying the Rittenhouse trial is "yet another example of the two justice systems at work in America."
"If we were talking about a Black man, the conversation and outcome would be starkly different. But we're not ... we're talking about Kyle Rittenhouse, a racist, homicidal vigilante who, like so many white men before him, not only escaped accountability, but laughed in its face," Crump said.
Crump particularly took issue with the judge presiding over the case, Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder, and accused him of bias. Schroeder received criticism for not allowing the people Rittenhouse shot to be described as "victims" in court, and for allowing Rittenhouse to randomly pick the numbers of the jurors who would be dismissed from final deliberations.
In his statement, Crump also misleadingly stated that Rittenhouse is a "self-declared white nationalist" who "crossed state lines with an unlawfully possessed AR-15." Rittenhouse kept his rifle at his friend's stepfather's home in Wisconsin and never brought it across state lines. During the trial, Schroeder also dismissed a charge for unlawful possession of a firearm as a minor.
Shortly after his arraignment in January, Rittenhouse met with members of the Proud Boys — a far-right group with links to white nationalism — at a bar, where he posed for pictures and flashed what appeared to be a white power sign. Rittenhouse's lawyers said there was nothing to suggest Rittenhouse was connected to the group, and the judge ruled that the meetup couldn't be mentioned at trial.
Read Crump's full statement below:
"If you needed yet another example of the two justice systems at work in America, look no further than the delayed arrest, spectacle of a trial, and acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse, a self-declared white nationalist, crossed state lines with an unlawfully possessed AR-15 to be an instigator and provocateur in the anti-racism protests in Kenosha. By the end of the night, he had killed two people and left others injured in his wake. And instead of being arrested on the spot by law enforcement, he walked away scot-free.
"From the outset, this case has pulled back the curtain on the profound cracks in our justice system - from the deep bias routinely and unabashedly displayed by the judge, to the apathy of officers who witnessed Rittenhouse's crimes and did nothing. If we were talking about a Black man, the conversation and outcome would be starkly different.
"But we're not...we're talking about Kyle Rittenhouse, a racist, homicidal vigilante who, like so many white men before him, not only escaped accountability, but laughed in its face. Today, I pray for the victims, I pray for our country, I pray for our children and grandchildren, and I pray that this travesty of a case is an outlier on our path to a more just system, and not a signal of retreat backwards. Because, we simply can't afford it."
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