US teen Kyle Rittenhouse cleared over protester deaths

Kyle Rittenhouse, the US teenager who shot and killed two men and wounded another during anti-police protests last year, has been acquitted of all charges.

Kyle Rittenhouse speaks with his attorneys before the jury is relieved for the evening during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on 18 November 2021. Picture: AFP

WASHINGTON - Kyle Rittenhouse, the American teenager who shot and killed two men and wounded another during anti-police protests and riots in Wisconsin last year, was acquitted of all charges on Friday.

A jury found Rittenhouse, 18, not guilty of reckless and intentional homicide and other charges stemming from the shootings which took place in August 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Rittenhouse, who claimed the shootings were self-defence, sobbed as the verdict was read and sank into his chair. He rushed out of the courtroom after the jury was dismissed.

Rittenhouse testified during the two-week trial that he shot the three men with his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle after being attacked.

Prosecutors dismissed the self-defence claim, saying it was the then 17-year-old Rittenhouse who "provoked" the events during a night of protests and riots against police brutality in Kenosha.

Rittenhouse faced five charges, one count of intentional homicide, one count of reckless homicide, one count of attempted intentional homicide and two counts of recklessly endangering safety.

The jury deliberated for four days before delivering a unanimous verdict of not guilty on all counts.