Kyle Rittenhouse, acquitted on all charges arising from his killing two men and wounding a third during unrest in the United States last year, said his case ‘never had anything to do with race’ and that in any event he supported the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
He told Fox News: ‘I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement. I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to be change.’
Armed with an AR-15 rifle, Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz, testifying that he opened fire in self-defence.
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 paralysed.
Rittenhouse said: ‘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’s other ways to go around and do that.’
Writing in the Washington Post, commentator Eddie S. Glaude Jr said: ‘No black teenager who kills two people and leaves one seriously injured, would be treated, no matter what the law says about self-defence, like Rittenhouse. He would be dead.’
The BBC noted: ‘Much US media commentary of the case dwelled on race, although Mr Rittenhouse is white, as were all three men he shot.’