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Rittenhouse Acquittal Raises Worries About Vigilantism, Racial Equity

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Kyle Rittenhouse listens as attorneys discuss the potential for a mistrial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, an 18-year-old who killed two people after bringing an AR-15-style rifle to a protest against police brutality, does little to deter future vigilantes while refreshing frustrations about racial inequity under the law, say three Northeastern professors.

“I am deeply disappointed in the jury verdict. It sends a message that individuals can arm themselves and as private citizens intervene in public protests,“ says Jack McDevitt, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern and the director of the university’s Institute of Race and Justice.

“I worry that the verdict may also contribute to a lack of trust in the legal and criminal justice system, particularly for communities of color who often resort to peaceful protest to highlight these very injustices,” says Carlos Cuevas, a professor of criminology at Northeastern who serves as the co-director of the university’s Violence and Justice Research Lab.

Read the full story on Northeastern News.

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