Kyle Rittenhouse broke down in tears and appeared to collapse in the courtroom as the jury in his murder trial acquitted him on all counts.
Rittenhouse was charged intentional homicide, reckless homicide, attempted intentional homicide, and two counts of reckless endangerment after he killed two men and wounded a third on August 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during riots over the lawful police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man.
As a woman read off the “not guilty” verdicts, Rittenhouse struggled to hold back tears until he eventually collapsed in his seat. He later hugged one of his defense attorneys.
Kyle Rittenhouse breaks down, collapses, and hugs his defense attorney as he is found NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS. pic.twitter.com/VwXpOfWTXs
— Tayler Hansen (@TaylerUSA) November 19, 2021
Earlier in the trial, Rittenhouse broke down crying while attempting to retell the events of night of August 25. He had just began to explain how he shot and killed the first man that night in self-defense when he broke down on the stand. The judge issued a recess shortly after.
The teen was later mocked on social media over the moment, most notably by NBA star LeBron James. As The Daily Wire reported:
On Wednesday night, NBA star Lebron James mocked Kyle Rittenhouse after Rittenhouse had broken down in tears on the witness stand earlier in the day. James tweeted, “What tears????? I didn’t see one. Man knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court.”
Rittenhouse’s trial wrapped up Friday after four days of jury deliberation and roughly two weeks of testimony. Rittenhouse had pleaded not guilty to all charges, claiming self-defense. Rittenhouse was caught up in violent riots in Kenosha after traveling there to defend local businesses from rioters. As The Daily Wire reported:
Rittenhouse, who is now 18, lives in Antioch, a northern suburb of Chicago about 15 miles from Kenosha. On August 25 of last year when he was 17, Rittenhouse decided to patrol the downtown Kenosha area alongside other armed men in order to protect a used car dealership from looting and vandalism. The city had devolved into rioting over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white Kenosha police officer.
Rittenhouse took a medical kit and armed himself with a Smith & Wesson M&P15, which is an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle that police say his friend illegally bought for him.
While guarding the used car dealership, he was chased by protesters and ended up fatally shooting two people, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and injuring a third, Gaige Grosskreutz. The defendant and the three men he shot are all white.
He was arrested and charged with five felony charges and one misdemeanor charge. The most serious charge was intentional homicide, Wisconsin’s top murder charge, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The others were reckless homicide, attempted homicide, two counts of reckless endangerment, and being a minor illegally in possession of a firearm.