Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers issued a heartfelt statement Friday grieving the lives that Kyle Rittenhouse cut short — and called for peace and justice as residents “move forward … more motivated to build the future we want.”
The governor offered no opinion on the verdict that acquitted Rittenhouse, 18, who fatally shot two unarmed men and injured a third with an AR-15-style rifle he brought from Illinois to a Kenosha, Wisconsin, protest against the police wounding of Black resident Jacob Blake.
Evers first acknowledged those injured and killed in the shooting.
“No verdict will be able to bring back the lives of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, or heal Gaige Grosskreutz’s injuries, just as no verdict can heal the wounds or trauma experienced by Jacob Blake and his family,” Evers said.
“No ruling today changes our reality in Wisconsin that we have work to do toward equity, accountability, and justice that communities across our state are demanding and deserve,” he added.
He also pleaded that everyone choosing to “assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights … do so safely and peacefully.”
Evers added: “We must remain steadfast in our commitment to ending violence in our communities, supporting victims and survivors as they heal from trauma, and rooting out the disparities that are so often inextricably linked to that violence and trauma.”
He concluded: “We must be unwavering in our promise to build a state where every kid, person, and family can live their life free of violence and have every chance to be successful.”
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D), who is running for the U.S. Senate, slammed Rittenhouse’s acquittal.
“We have seen so many black and brown youth killed, only to be put on trial posthumously, while the innocence of Kyle Rittenhouse was virtually demanded by the judge,” he said in a statement.
The state’s Republican speaker of the House, Robin Vos, said the verdict had proven “our justice system works” — and called for peace.