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18-yr-old US white teen exonerated from killing 2 during anti-racial protest

18-yr-old US white teen exonerated from killing 2 during anti-racial protest

Washington: Taking into account an 18-year-old accused of shooting dead two people during an anti-racial protest in Wisconsin, a US jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty as he used his assault rifle when met with a threat to his life.

Rittenhouse, who was accused of killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber with an assault rifle, had also faced charges of recklessly endangering safety, for firing his weapon near others. He was also charged with the illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor.

But the jury in Kenosha dropped all counts of charges slapped on him after a four-day trial.

Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old white boy, roamed the streets of Kenosha with other armed men acting as a self-described militia during protests in August 2020, after a white police officer shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back.

The trial is said to be a test for the US justice system and the attitude of law enforcement when confronted with white men or teens who claimed to be acting as vigilante-style informal security personnel, armed with assault rifles, and Black members of the public or those protesting in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Rittenhouse was reported to have been roaming in Kenosha coming from his home in Illinois in August 2020, with his assault rifle with reported approval from some of the police officers on duty at the time. The police officers were also reported to have assisted the roaming militia handing them over water and food.

They claimed to be protecting property and acting as informal medics and unofficial security after some businesses had been destroyed when demonstrations against the police shooting spilt over on the fringes into violence after dark.

Rittenhouse is white, as were the men he shot. But the case focused attention on questions of racial justice, unequal policing, and firearms rights, often sitting at the heart of America's increasingly bitter partisan divide.

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