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Protests erupted in major cities across the U.S. on Friday evening into early Saturday morning after a Kenosha, Wisconsin, court acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges against him.
A 12-person jury on Friday afternoon found Rittenhouse not guilty on five charges, including first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide after he shot three people during riots that took place in Kenosha in August 2020, following the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake.
KYLE RITTENHOUSE FOUND NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS IN KENOSHA TRIAL
The verdict has sparked debate over gun laws, self-defense and criminal justice as it relates to race.
In Portland, Oregon, police declared a riot in the downtown area after a protest verdict became violent and destructive near the Multnomah County Justice Center, authorities said.
Rioters smashed the window of a city print shop, the near window of a police vehicle and vandalized the Bureau’s precinct downtown.
Police made one arrest and issued five citations and 17 warnings before “the destructive crowd…dissipated” by Saturday morning, the Portland Police Bureau’s said in a Saturday morning tweet.
Thieves in Chicago reportedly targeted a Neiman Marcus store on Chicago‘s Magnificent Mile and a GameStop on the South Side on Friday night as protesters took the streets, according to police.
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At Neiman Marcus, a group of 15 men reportedly rushed into the department store and left in three vehicles with their stolen merchandise, though police would not say whether thefts were related to protests, FOX 32 Chicago first reported.
“Multiple offenders pulled up in 2-3 vehicle[s], they exited the vehicle and entered a retail store taking large amounts of merchandise,” the Chicago Police Department said in a statement of the Nieman Marcus theft. “The offenders then fled in a vehicle. No offenders in custody Area three detectives are investigating.”
An “unknown” amount of merchandise was stolen from the GameStop store, and police do not have any offenders in their custody as of Saturday morning, according to the department.
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The theft incidents are under investigation.
New York City
Hundreds of demonstrators marched across New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan on Friday night, blocking traffic after the verdict.
At one point, the protesters took a knee and held a moment of silence on the bridge in deference to Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26 — the two men Rittenhouse fatally shot last year.
In Queens, at least five people were arrested for property damage.
Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags appeared to be leading the group of protesters in Brooklyn in videos and photos posted on social media.
“The NYPD takes its responsibility to protect the 1st amendment rights of peaceful demonstrators seriously,” the department wrote on Twitter. “Just as important is the safety of NYers & the protection of property from people breaking the law in the name of protest. As seen tonight in Queens, they will be arrested.”
The NYPD tweeted photos of a smashed windshield and graffiti on the back of someone’s vehicle that said: “F— you.”
Bay Area, California
In Oakland, California, about 100 people attended a peaceful protest scheduled for 6 p.m. PT, according to local reports.
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The protest took place downtown, with some demonstrators carrying signs labeling Rittenhouse as “guilty” and calling on the Department of Justice to examine the Rittenhouse case, according to FOX 2 San Francisco.
Other peaceful protests took place in Sacramento.
Six suspects were arrested in San Francisco on Friday night, accused of leaving a Louis Vuitton store in the city’s Union Square shopping district “emptied out,” according to a report.
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It is unclear if the thefts were related to any kind of protests
At 8:10 pm @SFPD responded to possible looting and vandalism to retail establishments in Union Square. Multiple suspects were arrested. Addtl @SFPD responding to area to address criminal acts,” San Francisco Police Department Public Information Officer Robert Reuca said in an early Saturday morning tweet. “Anyone with info is asked to contact SFPD at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411.”
Other high-end retailers, including Fendi and Yves Saint Laurent, also were struck, FOX 2 of the Bay Area reported.
Although several suspects initially got away, police did “great work” in ultimately apprehending six suspects, District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin told the outlet.
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A small group of protesters stood outside the Kenosha courthouse where Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday night and chanted anti-police slogans, according to Fox News reporters at the scene.
A number of local businesses boarded up their doors and closed early for the night, but demonstrations remained peaceful.
Demonstrations outside the courthouse have been ongoing since early this week when the jury began deliberations.
Members of local Boston activist groups gathered for a relatively small protest in the New England city Friday night.
One flyer posted to Twitter by activist group “Solidarity Against Hate – Boston” called for “justice for Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum” and told demonstrators to “wear black.”
More protests are scheduled between Saturday and Monday in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New Orleans, San Jose, Honolulu and other cities, as well as various Wisconsin towns including Oshkosh and Traverse City, according to Facebook events.
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Many Democratic politicians, left-leaning pundits, celebrities and organizations claimed his acquittal highlights a justice system that is biased toward white people, while Republicans and right-leaning pundits praised the verdict as an example of a working justice system.
The 18-year-old’s attorneys argued during his trial that he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot Rosenbaum and Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 27.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson and Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.