Protests took place in Portland, New York and Chicago this past weekend over the acquittal of 18 year-old Kyle Rittenhouse for shootings in rural Wisconsin. Meanwhile, in up-state New York, 20 year-old Christopher Belter received a probation-only sentence after pleading guilty to rape and other charges against four teenage girls.
Rittenhouse shot three Black Lives Matter protesters with an assault rifle, killing two, in Kenosha, WI on 25 August 2020. Rittenhouse, whose social media accounts were filled with “Blue Lives Matter” posts during the protests, said he came to Kenosha to protect a car dealership that had been set fire to the previous night.
Rittenhouse and several other armed men were seen in front of the dealership by local police, who gave them water in appreciation, according to NY Times. Rittenhouse was 17 at the time, not legally old enough to purchase a firearm.
At some point, he left the group, shot a protester, then shot two more who were attempting to disarm him. He was acquitted on grounds of self-defence.
“The jury reached the correct verdict,” Rittenhouse told Fox News after the trial. “Self-defence is not illegal. It has been a rough journey, but we made it through it.” Rittenhouse is scheduled for an interview on Tucker Carlson’s show next week.
He has also been offered a congressional internship. In making the offer, Republican Madison Cawthorn, from North Carolina, said, “You have a right to defend yourself, so be armed, be dangerous and be moral.”
Symbolising the extent of division in the US at present, a conservative writer was censored on Twitter for an opinion piece agreeing with the judge that Rittenhouse “did nothing wrong.”
In New York, Christoper Belter pleaded guilty to charges of rape and “sexual abuse” against four young women. The victims were 15 and 16 year-old girls (Belter was 16 and 17 years-old) at the time of the attacks, which took place over 18 months.
The attacks took place at the house of Belter’s mother. It was said to be a popular “party house” for students of the private boys school attended by Belter in the Buffalo, NY area. A civil suit brought against the mother accuses her of “grooming” one of the victims.
“The truth of what went on and what [Belter] did to his victims is far more egregious than the charges he pleaded to,” a lawyer for one of the victims later told the media. The lawyer added that his client vomited in the court’s bathrooms after the verdict was read.
“I’m not ashamed to say that I actually prayed over what is the appropriate sentence in this case,” said the 69 year-old judge, Matthew J. Murphy III.
Belter’s father is a senior partner at a nation-wide US law firm.
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