Lightfoot says 'we must respect the jury's decision' after Kyle Rittenhouse verdict

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement following the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

On Friday, Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts. The teen was accused of shooting three people, two fatally, during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August of 2020.

Lightfoot issued the following statement after the not guilty verdict.

"I am aware of the jury’s verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case, and under our constitutional system, we must respect the jury’s decision. However, no one should ever take the law into their own hands, or attempt to make themselves the judge, jury, and executioner. What Kyle Rittenhouse did was reckless, dangerous, and showed an utter disregard for human life.

My condolences go out to the family, friends, and loved ones of the victims during this difficult time. Let us also remember and pray for Jacob Blake and his family as he continues his journey of rehabilitation."

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker also released a statement saying, "we must do better than this."

"Carrying a loaded gun into a community 20 miles from your home and shooting unarmed citizens is fundamentally wrong. It's a tragedy that the court could not acknowledge that basic fact. 26-year-old Anthony Huber and 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, a father, had their whole lives ahead of them. They deserved to be a live today. They deserve justice. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who loved them. We must do better than this."

Rev. Jesse Jackson issued a statement, calling the verdict a "miscarriage of justice."

"All demonstrators are now in jeopardy because of those heavily armed with the Rittenhouse model over seeing. Kyle Rittenhouse killed two people and is not guilty of murder. This is indeed a grave miscarriage of justice.

Rittenhouse came across state lines brought by his mother to Wisconsin running down the street brandishing his gun. His mother took him back to state lines to Illinois and he was allowed by police. This is a dangerous precedent for Illinois. His mother, the police and those who sold him the gun, must share the responsibility."

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle echoed Jackson's comments.

"My fear after today's verdict is that it will only embolden others to commit similar types of crimes under the guise of maintaining order and will diminish individuals' right to peaceful protest," she said. "While we cannot continue to lose hope, today's decision is a miscarriage of justice and makes perfectly clear how deeply flawed and inequitable our criminal legal system is at its core."

The Illinois State Rifle Association released a statement saying the verdict is a "victory for the right of self-defense."

"The decision today is a significant victory for the right of self-defense and for the 2nd Amendment. The jury has affirmed the basic right of self-defense for all Americans. The right of self-defense is the underlying reason we have a 2nd Amendment in the first place. It is a basic right for all Americans, regardless of age, and we applaud the jury’s decision to affirm those rights with their decision today."

President Joe Biden released a statement, calling for unity.

"While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken. I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.  I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law.

I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law.  Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy.  The White House and Federal authorities have been in contact with Governor Evers's office to prepare for any outcome in this case, and I have spoken with the Governor this afternoon and offered support and any assistance needed to ensure public safety."

Chicago activists are planning protests Friday night in response to the Rittenhouse verdict.

Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges after pleading self-defense in the deadly shootings that became a flashpoint in the nation’s debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice.

Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef, who is leading one protest at Millennium Park, said in a media release that many factors in the Rittenhouse trial were double standards.

Another protest is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Federal Plaza.

On Thursday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Illinois State Police are prepared for any potential unrest after the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. 

Pritzker said he is not planning to bring in the National Guard but that there are hundreds who can be called into place if needed.


"Our coordinators have been in regular discussion, not only with the city of Chicago, but also with northern suburbs that border Wisconsin to make sure that we're providing the support that they need when they need it," Pritzker said.

FOX 6 Milwaukee contributed to this report.