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Al Sharpton claimed Sunday that Kyle Rittenhouse showed up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020 to confront protesters.
“I think what people are forgetting, if you start with the wrong premise, you come to the wrong conclusion,” Sharpton said of the jury’s verdict on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.”
“The reason Kyle Rittenhouse went to Kenosha was because there was protests against a young Black man shot in the back seven times by police,” Sharpton continued, going on to suggest that Rittenhouse was lying when he said he went to Kenosha to protect property.
“He was not a member of that community,” Sharpton said of Rittenhouse, whose father and best friend lived in Kenosha at the time.
Rittenhouse said he went to Kenosha to protect property.
Sharpton also said he is “very concerned” that the jury’s verdict will embolden some people to kill others and claim self-defense.
“Are people now going to come into our protests and kill people or hurt people and claim self-defense?” Sharpton asked, adding that members of Congress who have come out in support of Rittenhouse have “anointed” such behavior.
Sharpton’s comments came days after jurors in Kenosha, Wisconsin, acquitted Rittenhouse on all charges related to the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, whom he shot in August 2020 during a riot in the city.
The shootings occurred on the second night of rioting and violence in the small Wisconsin town after the police shooting of Jacob Blake during a domestic disturbance call. The police officer involved in that shooting faced no charges at either the state or federal level after investigations found Blake was reaching for a knife when he was shot.
Rittenhouse, who argued that he shot the men in self-defense, would have faced a mandatory life sentence if found guilty and convicted of first-degree intentional homicide.