In a conversation with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, commentator Van Jones argued that Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal will encourage “white vigilante violence” in the United States.
“I do respect the jury system, and I do appreciate what the President had to say,” Jones said. “But there’s a reason that people are upset. And it’s that there’s a bigger context here. “This idea of white vigilante violence is something that we have to wrestle with… We have got a pattern now, where white men feel that they have the right to enforce the law themselves.”
“Somehow, there is a group of people that think that they have the right to take the law into their own hands,” continued Jones, citing the January 6 riot, as well as the Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery cases. “They can leave their home with guns and they can enforce their vision of the law on other people. That is a big problem.”
“There is a bigger context here,” says CNN’s @VanJones68 about the Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal. “This idea of White vigilante violence is something that we have to wrestle with… We have got a pattern now, where White men feel that they have the right to enforce the law.” pic.twitter.com/g0SYzJ1R4e
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) November 20, 2021
Rittenhouse — an eighteen-year-old who fatally shot two men and injured a third while defending himself during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin — was cleared of murder charges on Friday.
Following the victory of Donald Trump in the election of 2016, Van Jones likewise rushed to forward a race-based narrative. “You tell your kids don’t be a bully, you tell your kids don’t be a bigot… and then you have this outcome,” the CNN analyst said. “You have people putting children to bed tonight and they are afraid of breakfast. They’re afraid of ‘How do I explain this to my children?’”
“This was a whitelash against a changing country,” Jones said. “It was whitelash against a black president in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes.”
The statement from President Joe Biden to which Jones referred says that the commander-in-chief feels “angry and concerned” by the jury’s decision in the Rittenhouse case.
“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,” the presidet explained. “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,” Biden added. “Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy.”
MSNBC legal analyst Julius Kim also argued that the unanimous verdict sends “the wrong message.”
“This was a tough case for the state to make, because we had what we call ‘bad facts’ in terms of the state’s case,” Kim said. “Kyle Rittenhouse was attacked; he was chased, and he was also approached by someone who had a handgun in his hands.”
“There were a lot of witness problems for the state in this case,” Kim added, acknowledging that the prosecution’s witnesses strengthened Rittenhouse’s case. “I think all of us who can see, we aren’t terribly surprised by the verdicts that we now have in front of us. But I am concerned that the wrong message has been sent to other people in the community.”