Harris: Rittenhouse Verdict Shows ‘There’s a Lot More Work to Do’ to Make Justice System ‘More Equitable’

Harris: Rittenhouse Verdict Shows ‘There’s a Lot More Work to Do’ to Make Justice System ‘More Equitable’

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to American and French reporters during a press conference in Paris, France, November 12, 2021. (Sarahbeth Maney/Pool via Reuters)

Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday said Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal is evidence that the criminal justice system needs to be reformed to be more “equitable.”

“The verdict really speaks for itself,” Harris told reporters. “As many of you know, I’ve spent a majority of my career working to make the criminal-justice system more equitable, and clearly, there’s a lot more work to do.”

Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges after shooting three people, killing two, during the riots in Kenosha, Wis., last August. He was arrested on August 26, 2020, and was initially indicted on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional reckless homicide, failure to comply with an emergency order from a local government, and possession of a dangerous weapon.

While the prosecution worked to portray Rittenhouse as a “wannabe soldier” who went to Kenosha looking for trouble, Rittenhouse’s attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense.

President Biden on Friday expressed disappointment at the verdict, though he encouraged Americans to accept the jury’s decision. 

“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,” Biden said in a statement. “I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.  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.

“I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law,” he added. “Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy.”

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