KENOSHA, Wis. >> The Rev. Jesse Jackson was scheduled to join his Rainbow PUSH Coalition and other groups on a march in Kenosha today to demand criminal justice reform following the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse.
The march was set to trace the route Rittenhouse took the night in August last year when he shot and killed two people and wounded a third during protests over police brutality in the southeastern Wisconsin city, according to a news release.
The march comes two days after a jury cleared Rittenhouse of all charges. On Saturday, hundreds of people across the country protested his acquittal.
Among other things, the protesters will demand that the Department of Justice investigate the case for further prosecution, including possible aiding and abetting charges against Rittenhouse’s mother, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition said in a statement.
Rittenhouse, a white 17-year-old, traveled to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois, armed with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle during a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. His acquittal has led to new debates over racial justice, vigilantism and policing in America.
Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO, said Sunday that the verdict was hard for African Americans to reconcile.
“Here you have a 17-year-old who illegally purchased a gun, traveled across state lines to protect property that was not his, for owners who did not invite him, and he put himself in harm’s way based on the rhetoric that he’s seen on social media platforms,” Johnson told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He called it “a warning shot that vigilante justice is allowed in this country or in particular communities.”
Rittenhouse’s lawyers described him as a scared teenager who shot to save his life. They put Rittenhouse on the stand to try and emphasize that point.
“I didn’t intend to kill them,” Rittenhouse testified. “I intended to stop the people who were attacking me.”
The march in Kenosha was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Hawaii time.