Kyle Rittenhouse says he’s “not a racist” and supports Black Lives Matter

Kyle Rittenhouse says he’s “not a racist” and supports Black Lives Matter

New York – Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted of charges relating to the killing of two men and wounding of another during the unrest following the shooting of a black man by a white police officer, said in a wide-ranging interview that aired Monday night that he is “not a racist” person and supports the Black Lives Matter movement.

“This issue had nothing to do with race. It had nothing to do with race. It was about the right to self-defense,” the 18-year-old told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview that aired Monday night. The men who shot them.

Rittenhouse was 17 last year when he traveled 20 miles (32 kilometers) from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which has seen protests following the August 23 shooting of Jacob Blake. The Kenosha shootings – protests that turned into destruction – have become part of the national reckoning of police use of force against blacks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May at the hands of police.

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Rittenhouse, armed with an AR semi-automatic rifle, joined others who said they were intent on protecting private property from potential damage on August 25. During his trial, prosecutors argued that the teen was a “wishful soldier” who went looking for trouble that night. Rittenhouse responded that he had fired in self-defense after being attacked and fearing for his life.

“I thought they made the right verdict because Kyle Rittenhouse wasn’t on trial in Wisconsin — it was a right of self-defense during the trial,” Rittenhouse said in the interview. “And if convicted…no one would have the privilege of defending their lives against the attackers.”

He said some people, including some who made threats against him, were “too ignorant to look at the facts.”

The Rittenhouse shootings quickly made a rallying cry for Second Amendment rights supporters and those angered by the sometimes violent protests seen in some American cities after Floyd’s death.

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Rittenhouse was photographed in a bar before the trial with apparently members of the far-right Proud Boys. Rittenhouse’s lawyers said he’s not a white supremacist.

I am not a racist person. I support the BLM movement, and I support peaceful protest,” Rittenhouse told Carlson. “I feel my life has been severely defamed,” he said, and hinted that he might take action, saying, “I have really good lawyers who take care of that now.”

He also dealt a heavy blow to his former lawyers, John Pearce and Lynne Wood, who he said used him to promote a “case” in which they raised $2 million to release him on bail.

When asked about it over the weekend, Pierce said he had no comment. Wood told the Associated Press that the foundation he heads, the Fightback Foundation, has raised money to release Rittenhouse on bail and has stated publicly that the case was about the Second Amendment.

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“I wasn’t a lawyer pushing for a case,” Wood said. “Fightback has a mission that includes the right to bear arms and self-defense.”

Rittenhouse told Carlson that he wishes the Kenosha shootings “never happen.”

“But it did, and we can’t change that. But how…polarization becomes a totally sickening thing, like right or left, people use me for a reason they shouldn’t be used as a reason.”

Rittenhouse said his life is different from what he had planned. He said he takes college requirements to become a nurse and hopes to study on campus, but is now also considering studying law. He plans to move from the Midwest, but doesn’t know exactly where he’s going.

“I’m going to lie down and live my life and enjoy it,” he said.

Last Friday a jury found Rittenhouse not guilty of murder, attempted murder and reckless endangerment in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Hooper, 26, and the injury of Gigi Grosskreutz, now 28.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial at: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse

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