BUFFALO, N.Y. — Response to the verdict was swift after 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges Friday after pleading self-defense in Kenosha, Wis.
Here in New York, Attorney General Letitia James took to Twitter on Friday afternoon, calling it a "dark day for our justice system."
She added: "As a lawyer, I respect jury verdicts. But this is yet another reminder that our system needs to be uprooted and reformed."
Rittenhouse had been charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering after killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests over police violence against Black people in the summer of 2020.
The former police youth cadet is white, as were the people he shot.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday's verdict was an example of why stronger gun safety laws were necessary, stressing that there's still work to do.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz echoed James' sentiments, saying the justice system is far from perfect.
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter that "today’s verdict is a stain on the soul of America," and that it "sends a dangerous message about who & what values our justice system was designed to protect."
Rittenhouse could have received life in prison if found guilty on the most serious charge, first-degree intentional homicide, or what some other states call first-degree murder.
As he dismissed the jurors, Circuit Judger Bruce Schroeder assured them the court would take “every measure” to ensure they are safe.
A sheriff’s deputy immediately whisked Rittenhouse out a back door through the judge’s chambers.
The jury reached the verdict on its fourth day of deliberation on the flashpoint case.