ATLANTA — Metro activists here are reacting to the not guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder case.
Atlanta is the cradle of the civil rights movement. Following the verdict, Bernice King tweeted, “this verdict is not surprising,” and added, “let’s walk and work together to shift this nation and world.”
Channel 2′s Audrey Washington spoke with some other civil rights leaders who said they were disheartened by the verdict.
Rittenhouse was charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle in the summer of 2020 during a tumultuous night of protests over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer.
A jury found him not guilty on all charges Friday.
Washington spoke Friday with the former president of the state NAACP, Rev. James Woodall. He told Washington that he was not surprised by the verdict.
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Woodall said the verdict sets a precedent and shows how the criminal justice system treats Black defendants versus white defendants.
“Another case that really highlights an urgent call for not just legal reforms, but really understanding why the system is failing and why it’s deficient in so many areas,” Woodall said.
He went on to say that people have to remember that two lives were lost in this situation.
Which is why Gainesville attorney Natalie Teston warns that Rittenhouse can still face legal challenges.
“So at this point, the state criminal saga is over,” Teston said. “Now, the question remains, will he be charged at the federal level? Will federal prosecutors indict him for federal crimes that may have been committed during these acts? And then you also got what happens on the civil side.”
Channel 2′s Justin Farmer asked Teston how likely it would be Rittenhouse could face trouble if civil action is taken against him.
“The burden in civil court is much lower. So, in criminal court it’s beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s the highest legal burden that we have here in our country. In civil court its going to be by a preponderance of the evidence,” Teston said.
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