Many Black Americans are upset by the Nov. 19 “not guilty” verdict for gunman Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who shot and killed two people and injured a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest. Protesters gathered in Kenosha after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot multiple times and paralyzed by a white police officer at point-blank range. The Rittenhouse verdict illustrates the unfairness of the U.S. judicial system for many and confirms the argument that Rittenhouse would have been found guilty if he was Black.
Samaria Rice, whose 12-year-old son, Tamir Rice, was holding a toy gun when he was shot and killed by a Cleveland cop in 2014, is so angered by the Rittenhouse verdict that she said she thinks the U.S. needs to be overthrown.
Rittenhouse, who crossed state lines with an AR-style semi-automatic weapon into Kenosha, was found not guilty of all charges including first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and first-degree recklessly endangering safety, Black Enterprise reported.
The jury, which appeared to be predominately white, deliberated for nearly four days. Nov. 22 is the seventh anniversary of Tamir Rice’s death. He was gunned down after someone reported seeing him with a firearm. He was playing with a toy gun.
“I’m very annoyed about how a minor, a white little boy, is not in jail for the murder of other people, and that’s just not right,” Rice said. “That’s not right. And his mother should go to jail, too. Because why would you give him a gun if he’s a minor? That’s just not how you’re supposed to raise your children in this country. You’re not supposed to just give him a gun to go to a protest, right? So you knew he was going to a protest—what did you think he was going to do?”
Rittenhouse wasn’t assisting police, Rice said. Rather, he “killed innocent people,” and she said he should be in jail.
Rittenhouse played a direct role in choosing the final 12 jurors who decided his innocence, AP reported. Circuit Judge Bruce Schroder ordered Rittenhouse’s attorney to put pieces of paper into a raffle drum with the numbers of each of the 18 jurors on it. The drum was put in front of Rittenhouse at the defense table. With the jury watching, Rittenhouse chose six pieces of paper from the drum, each bearing a number that corresponded to a juror. Those six jurors were dismissed.
“I’m really confused, but I also understand that it was designed this way and, at this point, we are at the mercy of God. … At the end of the day, this country needs to be overthrown,” Rice said. “This is pitiful, and where in this country have we seen someone pick their own jury? When I seen that, I was like, ‘Is we still on planet earth?’ We have never seen it in a judicial system, even with all the mass murderers and everything that has happened in this country for decades and decades.”
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Earlier this year, Rice and her legal team sent a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration and the Department of Justice to reopen their investigation into the Tamir’s death, TheGrio reported.
They want the DOJ to thoroughly investigate the fatal shooting and bring charges against the officer involved in Tamir’s death.
“The election of President Biden, your appointment, and your commitment to the rule of law, racial justice, and police reform give Tamir’s family hope that the chance for accountability is not lost forever,” the letter stated. “We write on their behalf to request that you re-open this investigation and convene a grand jury to consider charges against the police officers who killed Tamir.”
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