Americas

Biden urges calm after US teen gunman acquitted

US president says he is among 'many Americans' who feel 'angry and concerned'

Michael Gabriel Hernandez   | 20.11.2021
Biden urges calm after US teen gunman acquitted BLM protesters, media members and Kyle Rittenhouse supporters gather outside the Kenosha County Courthouse on closing arguments in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States on November 16, 2021. ( Tayfun Coşkun - Anadolu Agency )

WASHINGTON 

US President Joe Biden acknowledged on Friday the feelings of outrage among many Americans in the wake of Kyle Rittenhouse's acquittal, but urged calmer heads to prevail. 

Biden said he is among the "many Americans" who feel "angry and concerned" by the verdict, but said "we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken."

"I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law," the president said in a statement.

"I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy," he added.

The White House and other federal officials has been in contact with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers ahead of the verdict's announcement, and Biden said he spoke with the governor Friday afternoon to offer "support and any assistance needed to ensure public safety."

Rittenhouse had been charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide and recklessly endangering safety in the shootings of three men in August of 2020, two of whom died of their wounds. Rittenhouse argued he was asked to be there by property owners looking for protection and that he only shot the men in self-defense.

Rittenhouse faced the possibility of life in prison after being charged with five counts, including first-degree intentional homicide.

Prosecutors said Rittenhouse was part of a vigilante mob, bent on intimidation and that he was not provoked into the shootings, as he claimed.

The unrest was touched off by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, days earlier. Blake's uncle, who had been demonstrating outside the courthouse since the beginning of the trial denounced the verdict afterwards and was echoed by the parents of Anthony Huber, one of the men Rittenhouse killed.

John Huber and Karen Bloom released a statement saying in part, "Today's verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son."

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