Updated: Nov 23, 2021
After a long year of awaiting the Kyle Rittenhouse trials, the time had finally come. The time for what? Time for justice to be served, or so I thought.
On Aug. 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot two men and severely injured another at the deadly Kenosha shooting. After the shooting of Jacob Blake, Kenosha was overtaken by protests, patriotism and an urgent demand for justice.
Rittenhouse, however, had other ideas. He frolicked down the streets of Kenosha fully strapped with an AR-15 around his chest. To top it off, he was wearing a shirt that said “Free As Fu**,” while stampeding through Black Lives Matter rallies despite the current state of the city due to the Blake shooting. He shot those who tried to disarm him, despite his claim that he acted out of “self defense.” After brutally murdering his victims, he proceeded to go drink at a bar and hold up “White Power” signs.
The first day that the trials started, my friends and I were like kids in a candy store. Gathered around the television, sharing blankets and eating popcorn. You would have thought it was a movie premiere. However, this movie didn’t seem to have the happiest ending.
After a wretched attempt to defend himself, lying through his teeth, throwing multiple hissy fits and being subjected to watch the videos of him murdering his victims, it was time for the long awaited verdict. By no surprise, the jury dismissed Rittenhouse on all charges. Those charges included attempted and first degree intentional homicide, first degree reckless homicide, first degree reckless safety endangerment and carrying an automatic weapon while being underaged.
I don’t know what disappoints me more. The fact that Rittenhouse doesn’t have to spend the rest of his life behind bars, or the fact that there are multitudinous innocent people imprisoned for reasons that don’t even begin to compare to this.
You can say this was a coincidence or that Rittenhouse simply got lucky. However, in reality, all this is an obstruction of justice that happens to be embellished to hide the inequalities and ingrained prejudices that continue to exist in America today.
In 2010, Kalief Browder was arrested on the grounds of “allegedly stealing a backpack which may have contained valuables.” He was held in Rikers Island for three years without a trial. He eventually ended up taking his own life due to prison trauma.
Cyntoia Brown was imprisoned for 15 years after shooting a man out of self defense who used her for prostitution. She was to become eligible for parole after 55 years. However, she was one of the lucky ones whose case had attracted significant media attention, and was eventually released and freed of all charges.
Our country continues to suffer from its everlasting racism epidemic. The clear double standard to which different races are held can be evidently seen through the outcomes of the cases I have described above. The prejudice ingrained in our justice system makes me think - is justice even being served?
While our judicial system is the basis of this country, opening your eyes to the reality of the difference in treatment between the races with the law is astonishing. The law is not subjective to your skin color, neither is your jail sentence. We need to hold our judges and police officers accountable, because at the end of the day they have the power in the palm of their hands and have made it apparent that many can get away with nearly anything, even murder.