‘Vigilantes will be emboldened,’ Seattle attorney says after Rittenhouse verdict – KIRO 7 News Seattle
Not guilty on all counts – this is the verdict of a jury from Wisconsin on Kyle Rittenhouse.
The 18-year-old shot dead two people during the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer. It is a process that divides the country and reacts from all sides.
Jeffery Needle, a Seattle constitutional law attorney, says the Rittenhouse ruling will have an “enormously significant” impact, including here in Washington.
“The vigilante groups are being encouraged, much to my regret. I think we’re going to see a tremendous surge in vigilance. People will feel encouraged to use force, they will feel justified in walking around with guns, ”Needle said.
However, Needle says he believes the jury’s verdict, found not guilty on all five charges, including two first degree murder charges, will stand. He points out the enormous burden of proof on the prosecutor.
Prosecutors had to prove beyond doubt that Rittenhouse was not acting in self-defense when he shot two people and wounded another.
“There’s nothing I see that suggests that there was an unfair trial in his case,” Needle said. “You came back with a judgment and we are sticking with it whether you like it or not,” he said.
“It may have been justice to Mr. Rittenhouse – I’m not arguing with that. But I think in terms of broader social consequences, it will be bad, ”he said.
Rittenhouse traveled from Illinois to Wisconsin armed with a semi-automatic rifle. He testified that he went to the Kenosha protests to help protect property and provide medical assistance. But Rittenhouse said he got into a situation in which he feared for his life.
He gave an emotional testimony last Wednesday and was so choked on the witness stand that the judge asked for a break.
“They found him believable and personable,” said Needle. “And more than any other reason, I suspect that’s why he won,” he said.
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility fears that this ruling will make it difficult for people to exercise their freedom of expression without fear.
“I think what happened today is really undermining our first rights of change as citizens in this country,” said Renee Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.
“It’s really important to note that no one, especially a minor, should cross state lines with a semi-automatic assault rifle, shoot three people, and then be portrayed as a victim – or worse, a hero. And that happened today, ”said Hopkins.
The Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, applauded the verdict, saying in an email: “The Kenosha jury’s verdict is an affirmation that people regardless of their age have the right to stand up against any violent attack by an individual or a mob. To defend .”
Rittenhouse’s attorney said Rittenhouse was home now.
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