Kyle Rittenhouse says his case ‘has nothing to do with race’

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  • Jacob Blake shooting

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Kyle Rittenhouse's case has become a flashpoint in the highly polarised debate over gun rights in the US

A teenager who was cleared last week of murder during racial unrest in the US state of Wisconsin has said his case "has nothing to do with race".

"It had to do with the right to self-defence," Kyle Rittenhouse told Fox News, adding that he supported the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

The 18-year-old killed two men and wounded a third in the city of Kenosha on 25 August 2020.

A patriot to some and a vigilante to others, his acquittal divided the US.

Much US media commentary of the case dwelled on race, although Mr Rittenhouse is white, as were all three men he shot.

  • ANALYSIS: Why Kyle Rittenhouse case so divides the US
  • PROFILE: Who is US teen cleared of protest killings?
  • BACKGROUND: When can you shoot as self-defence?

Mr Rittenhouse told Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight programme that his case "never had anything to do with race".

He added: "I'm not a racist person. I support the BLM movement. I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to be change."

Mr Rittenhouse said the arsonists who razed businesses in Kenosha during last year's riots were "opportunists taking advantage of the BLM movement".

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.Media caption, Americans react to Kyle Rittenhouse’s full acquittal

"I agree with the BLM movement, I agree everybody has the right to protest and assemble.

"But I do not agree that people have the right to burn down, I don't appreciate that people are burning down American cities to try to spread their message. I think there's other ways to go around and do that."

Mr Rittenhouse also said he thought "there's a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case but in other cases.

"It's just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone."

Armed with an AR-15 rifle, Mr Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz, testifying that he opened fire in self-defence.

He had faced five charges, including intentional homicide.

Two nights before he turned up in Kenosha last year, saying he wanted to help protect businesses amid rioting, police had shot an armed black man, Jacob Blake, in the back, leaving him paralysed.

During last year's election campaign, US President Joe Biden tweeted a video that appeared to link Mr Rittenhouse, without any evidence, to white supremacists.

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