Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal is a ”miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent,” and the case justifies federal review by the Department of Justice because he crossed state lines, Democrat Rep. and House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler tweeted Friday.
Rittenhouse, 18, who fatally shot two men and wounded a third, was found not guilty on Friday of intentional homicide and four other felony charges in a case that has led to a national debate about self-defense, guns and vigilantism.
”This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ,” tweeted Nadler, D-N.Y. ”Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest.”
Nadler’s suggestion, indicative of just how divisive and incendiary the case has been, drew an immediate rebuke from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. In response to Nadler’s tweet, he wrote, ”House Judiciary Chairman calls for DOJ to continue tormenting #KyleRittenhouse.”
Throughout the day on Friday, the verdict polarized the nation; leading Republicans including former President Donald Trump praised the decision as supporting arguments of clear self-defense by the teenager. On the flip side, many Democrats decried the treatment of Rittenhouse as illustrative of white privilege and bias in favor of white defendants and against those of color in the criminal justice system.
For his part, Dem President Joe Biden earlier Friday emphasized the need to accept the verdict. He conceded it would likely “leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, [but] we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken.”
Biden added an admonition to all Americans ”to express their views peacefully.”
Rittenhouse said he traveled to Wisconsin from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to help guard a used car dealership that had been damaged by a fire during a protest in the city sparked by a white Kenosha police officer shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man.
Rittenhouse was 17 at the time. At trial, he said he shot the three men in self-defense.
According to court testimony and police records, the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle he used had been stored at a friend’s house in Kenosha and not with him in the car.