CRC Executive Director Paulina Gonzalez-Brito issued the following statement after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the fatal shooting of two people.
The system has failed our communities once again.
In 1992, we watched as a jury acquitted four officers — three of whom were white — in the brutal beating of Rodney King. In 2013, we witnessed a jury acquit George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. A year later, we looked on in horror as a grand jury failed to indict the white officer who shot Mike Brown. Today, Kyle Rittenhouse, an 18-year-old from Illinois who drove across state lines armed with an assault-style rifle to a demonstration against police brutality in Kenosha, Wis., joins that list.
Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the shooting deaths of two people and injury to a third at the protest, which was sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Today’s verdict shows us that the United States will uphold white supremacy. Sadly, this is the legacy of our nation — one that legitimizes and validates violence against Black people.
We feel tremendous sadness for the families who will never see justice. We remain outraged by the repeated and senseless shootings and deaths of unarmed Black people. We’re gutted knowing there will be no consequences for the heinous acts committed by Rittenhouse. And, we’re worried for a future that allows such heinous acts to go unpunished.
Today’s verdict sets a dangerous precedent. But it also underscores the importance of organizing and the need to transform systems of oppression.
This is why we’re committed to the defense of Black lives. This is why our work, the work of our members, and the work of our partners are so vital.
We will never stop organizing and working for a future that invests in Black communities and divests from exploitative and harmful practices in the United States.