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Kyle Rittenhouse says That His Case ‘Has Nothing to Do With Race’

Kyle Rittenhouse’s case has become a flashpoint in the highly polarized debate over gun rights in the US

A teenager who was cleared of murder during racial unrest in the US has said his case “has nothing to do with race”.

“It had to do with the right to self-defense,” Kyle Rittenhouse said, adding that he supported the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

Jurors cleared the 18-year-old of killing two men and wounding a third with a military rifle after accepting claims that he had feared for his life.

A patriot to some and a vigilante to others, his acquittal divided the US.

Much US media commentary of the case dwelled on race, although Mr. Rittenhouse is white, as were all three men he shot.

“No black teenager who kills two people and leaves one seriously injured would be treated, no matter what the law says about self-defense, like Rittenhouse. He would be dead”, wrote Eddie S. Glaude Jr in the Washington Post.

CNN commentator Van Jones said the decision sends a message to black citizens that “there are two Americas”.

Mr. Rittenhouse told Tucker Carlson on Tonight programme that his case “never had anything to do with race”.

He added: “I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement. I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to change.”

Mr Rittenhouse said the arsonists who razed businesses in Kenosha during last year’s riots were “opportunists taking advantage of the BLM movement”.

“I agree with the BLM movement, I agree everybody has the right to protest and assemble.

“But I do not agree that people have the right to burn down, I don’t appreciate that people are burning down American cities to try to spread their message. I think there are other ways to go around and do that.”

Mr. Rittenhouse also said he thought “there’s a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case but in other cases.

“It’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone.”

Armed with an AR-15 rifle, Mr. Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz, testifying that he opened fire in self-defense.

He had faced five charges, including intentional homicide.

Two nights before he turned up in Kenosha last year, saying he wanted to help protect businesses amid rioting, police had shot an armed black man, Jacob Blake, in the back, leaving him paralyzed.

During last year’s election campaign, US President Joe Biden tweeted a video that appeared to link Mr Rittenhouse, without any evidence, to white supremacists.

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