US prosecutors charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse on Thursday in the fatal shooting of two protesters and the wounding of a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin during demonstrations over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black father of five, by a white police officer.
The lakeside city has been rocked by violent unrest over police brutality after a law enforcement officer shot Blake seven times in the back at close range Sunday in an incident that was captured on video and went viral since then, prompting a national outcry.
Video clips posted online appear to show Rittenhouse in the midst of protests Tuesday opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing two people. His social media posts contained photos of himself with assault rifles and messages showing support for police.
More video footage from that night’s shooting showed law enforcement officers thanking groups patrolling with long guns and asking whether they needed water.
The teenager was arrested on a warrant in the neighboring state of Illinois and was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and a long list of other charges. He faces a mandatory life sentence.
Blake’s family said Tuesday that he is paralyzed from the waist down and may never walk again.
The protests continued in Kenosha Wednesday night and early Thursday.
The city of Kenosha has been the site of widespread civil unrest after police shot Blake, setting off demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality that have repeatedly devolved into violence and led to mass property damage.
US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he was sending federal forces to Kenosha, saying the decision was made following a phone call with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who he said accepted his offer to send federal law enforcement officers and more National Guard to the flashpoint city.
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