White Supremacy on Trial: From Rittenhouse in Kenosha to Killers of Ahmaud Arbery, Will They Go Free?


Kyle Rittenhouse took to the stand on Wednesday before his defense team asked for a mistrial with prejudice in the case. If a mistrial is granted, Rittenhouse cannot be tried again, though the judge did not immediately rule on the request and said jury deliberations could begin on Monday. Now 18 years old, Rittenhouse was 17 when he fatally shot two men and injured one with a semiautomatic rifle during racial justice protests last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse is pleading not guilty to six charges, including homicide. While questioned, Rittenhouse broke down in tears, admitting to using deadly force but denying intent to kill his victims, and Judge Bruce Schroeder seemed to side with the defense at a handful of different points during Rittenhouse’s testimony. Meanwhile, the judge’s cellphone went off while the court was in session and played a ringtone for the song “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood, the opening song played at Donald Trump’s rallies. For more on the Rittenhouse trial, as well as the murder trial for the three men who killed Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, we speak with Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for The Nation, and antiracist activist Bree Newsome Bass. Mystal says Judge Schroeder “has pre-judged the trial in favor of Rittenhouse,” and “that was obvious before the trial.” Newsome Bass says, irrespective of the trials’ outcomes, “the legal system itself is an affront to the notion of justice.” She adds, “What does justice even mean in a system that was established to strip Black people of their humanity and for the greater part of its history has never really held white people accountable for murdering Black people?”


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