Today, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the shooting deaths of two people and injury to a third during protests sparked by the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake. While we are horrified and enraged by the acquittal of Rittenhouse, we are unsurprised. In our representation of people in protest of racist violence, we witness time and time again how the police allow white supremacists to come armed and vicious to public demonstrations without repercussions or coordinated intervention, while anti-racist protesters are harassed, maimed, and even killed. Kyle Rittenhouse’s verdict is simply one manifestation of how white supremacy undergirds our legal institutions, but it is no less painful.
Today’s verdict is only further evidence of how history offers important context for who is served by the criminal justice system and who is punished by it, even in the face of clear wrongdoings and irreparable harm. As civil rights attorneys, our work illustrates with painful clarity the illegitimacy and shortcomings of the legal system. Verdicts, guilty or innocent, cannot alone dismantle the racist and oppressive systems from which the legal system springs.
Our legal system cannot produce justice, accountability, or healing for our communities. And so we ask ourselves and each other to envision who and what we can be, and already are, beyond this system. We urge you to remember to look inward and toward your imaginations of a future where justice and joy are accessible and abundant. We are hopeful and zealously committed to offering our labor and love to racial justice — both in this moment and beyond. The fight is a long one, and we are dedicated to doing everything in our power to end racist, anti-Black policing and carceral institutions in the years and decades to come. But for today, we will hold people in the communities we love closer and continue to dream for more justice.
We offer our condolences to the families of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and stand in solidarity with the people and protesters of Kenosha, who are on the frontlines of fighting for justice at this very moment.
NOTE: At this moment, we are following the lead of Black-led organizations and identifying where and how we can be most effective. We are urgently gathering resources and information. For now, we encourage you to donate to the Milwaukee Freedom Fund, which will be providing bail support for protesters in Kenosha.
About the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights San Francisco (LCCRSF)
As one of the oldest civil rights institutions on the West Coast, our goal at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF) is to dismantle systems of oppression and racism, and to build an equitable and just society. Formed in 1968 to bridge the legal community and the Civil Rights Movement, we’re known for advancing the rights of people of color, immigrants, refugees and low income individuals.
About the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC) is a nonprofit legal organization that fights for liberation through the lens of intersectional disability justice. CREEC uses a combination of impact litigation, direct services, and education in order to work towards this vision. For more information, visit creeclaw.org.