Kyle Rittenhouse says he supports BLM movement on Fox News

Rittenhouse, who was acquitted on Friday of all six charges brought against him by the Kenosha County courts, spoke to Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Sunday.

 Kyle Rittenhouse trial begins in Kenosha (photo credit: SEAN KRAJACIC/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Kyle Rittenhouse trial begins in Kenosha
(photo credit: SEAN KRAJACIC/POOL VIA REUTERS)

In an interview with American television host Tucker Carlson on his Fox News program, Kyle Rittenhouse said his case was not racially motivated, adding that he supports the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement.

“I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement and peacefully demonstrating,” the recently-acquitted Illinois resident told Carlson on his popular nightly show Tucker Carlson Tonight on Sunday.

“I support peaceful protesting and I believe there needs to be change,” the teenager said before blaming what he called “unfair prosecution” in his case. “It’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone,” he stated.

Rittenhouse, who was acquitted on Friday of all six charges brought against him by the Kenosha County courts in Kenosha, Wisconsin, told Carlson that “This case... had nothing to do with race – [it] had to do with the right to self-defense.”

The 18-year-old was charged with two counts of first-degree homicide, one of attempted homicide, two of recklessly endangering public safety, and for possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. The latter charge was dismissed and he was found not guilty on the other five charges.

The charges stemmed from Rittenhouse’s actions during riots and unrest in Kenosha on August 25, 2020. Following a police shooting of 29-year-old Kenosha resident Jacob Blake, riots erupted in the Wisconsin city, leading to arson and looting across the town.

 Protest in the wake of Kyle Rittenhouse's ''not guilty'' verdict in Chicago (credit: CHENEY ORR/REUTERS) Protest in the wake of Kyle Rittenhouse's ''not guilty'' verdict in Chicago (credit: CHENEY ORR/REUTERS)

Rittenhouse, who was 17 years old at the time, decided to travel to Kenosha from his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, to join counter-protesters who claimed to be protecting local businesses and property from attacks. Crossing state lines to participate in a riot is a federal crime, according to the US penal code (Title 18).

Amid the chaos, Rittenhouse was chased and attacked by Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, subsequently firing four shots at him and killing him as Rosenbaum lunged for the rifle. Rittenhouse fled the scene as several protesters began chasing him.

After falling down and being struck in the head, Rittenhouse fired twice at a man attempting to kick him, missing both shots. Maryland resident Anthony Huber, 26, then struck Rittenhouse with his skateboard and approached the downed shooter, who fired a round that struck Huber’s chest, killing him.

Rittenhouse also shot a third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, who testified that he was at the protests as a paramedic. Grosskreutz, who was pointing his firearm at Rittenhouse when he was shot (according to cross-examination), was hit in the right arm and survived.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys argued that the teenager acted in self-defense when he opened fire. The jury deliberated for nearly four days before reaching a not-guilty verdict.

“I tell everybody there what happened. I said I had to do it,” he said. “I was just attacked. I was dizzy, I was vomiting, I couldn’t breathe.”

The chaotic scene at the Kenosha incident last August 2020 came amid a string of protests – peaceful and otherwise – sparked across the United States in the wake of Minnesota resident George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. Floyd was unarmed when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground and placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for a span of nearly nine minutes. Floyd died during the ordeal, which was captured on video by several bystanders.

The Rittenhouse trial polarized public opinion across the United States, with left-leaning pundits claiming that the trial highlighted racial inequalities in the justice system and what is known as “white privilege”, while right-wing pundits defended Rittenhouse, claiming the shootings were clearly in self-defense and that he was a “hero” for risking his life to defend the public peace when police were not adequately responding to the situation.

An Economist/YouGov poll conducted during the trial found that two-thirds of Republicans thought Rittenhouse should be acquitted, while three-quarters of Democrats thought he should be convicted.