Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges today. Rittenhouse was charged with murdering two people and attempting to kill another during chaotic protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake last year. Blake was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha, Wisconsin police. He was paralyzed.
Rittenhouse’s trial attracted intense national interest. Opinions of his culpability largely fell along partisan lines. Conservatives heralded him as a hero, while liberals characterized him as a vigilante playing cop—or worse. People on the left strongly disapproved of Rittenhouse traveling to a civil rights protest over the police shooting of a Black man armed with an AR-15 and intent on protecting other people’s property. Conversely, conservatives thought his conduct wasn’t just justified, it was brave.
Today, white nationalists and hate groups celebrated his acquittal. (Rittenhouse’s own views on race are unknown.)
VDARE, an anti-immigrant website that regularly posts racist views, was jubilant about the news that Rittenhouse will not face consequences for killing two and wounding a third.
“Kyle Rittenhouse is the hero we’ve been waiting for throughout the turbulent summer of 2020, where a Black Lives Matter/Antifa/Bolshevik revolution has our country on the brink of total chaos,” VDARE tweeted.
People on 4chan, a message board popular with racists and other bigots, were equally celebratory. On the politically incorrect page, anonymous users mocked the people Rittenhouse killed, used racial and antisemitic slurs, and characterized Rittenhouse as a hero.
One wrote approvingly of Rittenhouse’s attorney using the N-word during his opening statement. “Anyone have the video of him saying n—– because I didn’t see it and that sounds entertaining,” they wrote.
After the verdict was announced, Southern Nationalism, a Telegram channel popular with people who support groups like the white nationalist League of the South, wrote, “Pray for Kenosha but congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse!”
On the far-right self-described “western chauvinist” Proud Boys’ Telegram channels, commenters were equally elated.
“America is a white nation, don’t like it? Then GFO,” someone commented on a Proud Boys’ chat.
On the same page, another person suggested that the Proud Boys should protect Rittenhouse.
“Any PB in Wisconsin? We need to look out for Kyle, they definitely try some shit now,” they wrote.
Given the volatility of the matter, eyes are on Kenosha tonight as people upset with the verdict will likely be protesting. And the people who praised the acquittal will be there and armed.