SPLC ties Rittenhouse acquittal to 'systemic racism,' claims it will embolden 'far-right extremists'

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The Southern Poverty Law Center claimed that a Wisconsin jury’s decision to acquit Kyle Rittenhouse of murder charges highlights America’s “systemic racism” and will embolden “far-right extremists.”

“The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse will add fuel to the fire of armed radicalization in America,” Margaret Huang, the SPLC’s president and CEO, said in a statement on the verdict Friday. “That a white male youth can travel across state lines, armed with an assault rifle, and engage in armed confrontation resulting in multiple deaths without facing criminal accountability, is the all too familiar outcome in a country where systemic racism continues to rot the system.”

“Far-right extremists have already published a deluge of propaganda lionizing Kyle Rittenhouse, and his acquittal is likely to further embolden them to pretend that his violent actions were somehow heroic,” Huang added.

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“We will continue to see this sort of violence repeat itself in towns across the country unless we, as a nation, move toward greater prevention of radicalization, countering the antidemocratic hate that enabled the Kenosha violence, and end the systemic racism that supports it,” the SPLC president concluded.

Kyle Rittenhouse listens as the Judge Bruce Schroeder talks about how the jury will view video during deliberations in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

Kyle Rittenhouse listens as the Judge Bruce Schroeder talks about how the jury will view video during deliberations in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool) (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

Huang released her statement after a Kenosha, Wisconsin, jury declared Rittenhouse not guilty on five charges. The charges related to his fatal shooting of two White men and injuring of one other White man during the second night of civil unrest in Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020. Rittenhouse’s attorneys argued that the then-17-year-old was acting in self-defense after being attacked from behind when he shot Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, as well as deceased Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26 in the riots following the police shooting of a 29-year-old Black man, Jacob Blake.

Huang did not explain how the acquittal of a White man in the shooting of three other White men somehow reflected “systemic racism.”

Todd McMurtry, the lawyer who represented former Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann, previously told Fox News that Rittenhouse could have a defamation case against President Biden over a tweet suggesting that Rittenhouse was a White supremacist.

Gaige Grosskreutz, Anthony Huber, Joseph Rosenbaum. Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP, Gofundme, Facebook

Gaige Grosskreutz, Anthony Huber, Joseph Rosenbaum. Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP, Gofundme, Facebook (Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP, Gofundme, Facebook)

Critics say the SPLC brands mainstream conservative and Christian organizations “hate groups,” placing them on a list with truly hateful organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. Former staffers have claimed that the SPLC uses the “hate group” label to exaggerate hate in a fundraising scheme. The SPLC recently revamped its “Teaching Tolerance” program in America’s schools, renaming it “Learning for Justice.” Critics say the program uses critical race theory – a framework that involves deconstructing aspects of society to discover systemic racism beneath the surface.

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The Southern Poverty Law Center did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment by press time. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center's 2020 map of "hate groups."

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2020 map of “hate groups.” (Southern Poverty Law Center)

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