Biden urges Americans to express their views on Rittenhouse verdict ‘peacefully’
President Biden urged Americans on Friday to peacefully express their views on the jury’s decision to acquit Kyle Rittenhouse.
“I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy,” he said in a statement on Friday.
He said he spoke with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Friday afternoon and “offered support and any assistance needed to ensure public safety.”
The White House and authorities have also been in contact with Evers’s office to prepare for any outcome from the verdict, the president said.
“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken. I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us,” he said.
Rittenhouse, then 17 years old, killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured a paramedic last year amid demonstrations against police brutality in Kenosha, Wis., where police had shot and paralyzed a Black man named Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse has maintained he shot the men in self defense.
The jury on Friday found Rittenhouse not guilty on all five of the charges he faced, including intentional homicide.
Evers also called on people who choose to protest to do so peacefully.
“I echo the calls of local Kenosha community leaders and join them in asking everyone who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights in any community to please only do so safely and peacefully. We must have peace in Kenosha and our communities, and any efforts or actions aimed at sowing division are unwelcome in or state as they will only hinder that heading,” the governor said in a statement on Friday.
Biden, earlier on Friday, said he stands by the jury’s decision to acquit Rittenhouse and told reporters at the White House that “the jury system works and we have to abide by it.”
He said in his statement that he ran for president on a promise to bring Americans together.
“I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law,” he said.