Deters: Rittenhouse 'would've never been charged' if shooting happened in Hamilton County

Kyle Rittenhouse
Posted at 10:29 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-21 21:41:21-05

CINCINNATI — A Kenosha, Wisconsin, jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts in connection with an August 2020 shooting that killed two men during protests against police brutality.

The case ignited debates on gun rights and self defense across the country, with Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters saying the then 17-year-old "would've never been charged" if the shooting happened in the area.

Rittenhouse faced intentional and reckless homicide charges, as well as recklessly endangering safety. Deters said the law for self defense is clear, and said he believes the prosecutor overseeing the case acted irresponsibly to bring charges.

"[The] prosecutor is either spineless or an idiot," Deters said. "It's embarrassing to prosecutors around the country — know the law, know how it should be even-handed. No matter who is being shot, who shoots, that's not the issue. What color they are, if they're gay, it doesn't matter."

Deters said it is clear Rittenhouse acted to protect himself, something attorney Carl Lewis agrees with.

"I think he responded to what he thought was a threat," Lewis said. "You have the right to bear arms."

Lewis said the Rittenhouse trial came down to reasonable doubt.

"[I'm] shocked and not shocked," Lewis said. "Surprised he wasn't convicted of a lesser. Not shocked from a lawyer's perspective, because it's proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That case was filled with reasonable doubt."

Lewis said Rittenhouse carrying a loaded gun to Kenosha amid protests might have been a recipe for disaster, but it does not mean he was criminally reckless.

"He's carrying a weapon, something happens, he defends himself," Lewis said. "I don't think that's reckless. Some say he was running down the street, there was a protest — a mob scene."

Deters said "every piece of evidence points to self-defense."

"If this happened in Hamilton County, he would've never been charged at all," Deters said.

The family of Anthony Huber, a man Rittenhouse killed in the shooting, released a statement shortly after the verdict was read, saying they were "heartbroken" and "angry" he was found not guilty.

"It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street," the statement read.

President Joe Biden said in a statement the verdict "will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included," but said "I stand by what the jury has concluded."

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