In 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse killed two protestors and injured another after he opened fire with an assault rifle on a rally in response to Jacob Blake being shot and paralyzed by the police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. On Friday, November 19th, Rittenhouse was legally acquitted of all charges.
Much has been expressed in the aftermath, and Rage Against the Machine were one of the bands condemning the verdict, claiming that Rittenhouse had, in fact, “killed people who were fighting for racial justice.”
Rittenhouse was guarding a used-car lot when he opened fire, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber. He was found not guilty of all five charges brought against him and remarkably was even awarded a new assault rifle by the Gun Owners of America association.
The rap-metal band heavily condemned the verdict and disavowed the ‘self-defence’ claim in a statement that read: “What defines innocence in America? Tamir Rice was executed by police for playing with a toy. Nobody was charged. Ahmaud Arbery went jogging and was murdered in broad daylight.”
Adding: “Kyle Rittenhouse armed himself and killed people who were fighting for racial justice. He claimed self-defense. This is the settler logic of America’s founding myth: whiteness must cast itself as the victim in order to justify its violence against those resisting its oppression. Welcome to the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.”
Frontman Tom Morello then personally added: “When the courts do what they were designed to do and protect and enforce white supremacy: don’t mourn, organize.”