Arizonans have differing takes on jury's decision to acquit Kyle Rittenhouse

People in Arizona are reacting, hours after a jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges in connection with the deadly shootings during a 2020 racial protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

On Nov. 19, we spoke with a couple of people in the Phoenix area to get their take on the much-debated case. The real difference between the two perspectives was whether or not they believed Rittenhouse's actions to be self-defense.

Anti-police brutality organization member voices skepticism

"He hid behind the law in order to escape accountability. We have seen that throughout the history of the United States," said Jacob Raiford, the Lead Organizer for the We Rising Project.

Raiford said that the verdict is another example of ‘white vigilantism,’ adding that Rittenhouse crossed states lines, and stirred up protestors in Kenosha before the fatal shooting.

"You had a guy who crossed state lines in order to antagonize black people and people that were advocating for black lives, people that were tired of police brutality affecting their neighbors," said Raiford.

Officials with the We Rising Project say they want people to come together and discuss constructive solutions for combating brutality.

Phoenix area lawyer agrees with Rittenhouse's attorney

The defense in the case argued that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense, and Dwane Cates agrees.

"This was an inevitable verdict," said Cates. "This was a classic case of self-defense. This was not surprising to law-trained people that understand self-defense, because he was never the aggressor. He was always retreating. He was running away from people until he was tackled, and then, when he was tackled and being hit with a skateboard, then he fired."

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