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Kyle Rittenhouse verdict prompts protests in several cities

A demonstrator raises her fist while marching on the street during a protest against the Kyle Rittenhouse not-guilty verdict near the Barclays Center in New York City on Friday.
A demonstrator raises her fist while marching on the street during a protest against the Kyle Rittenhouse not-guilty verdict near the Barclays Center in New York City on Friday.

Following the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, protests have erupted in a number of cities across the country.

Rittenhouse was acquitted on Friday of all charges in connection to a 2020 shooting during unrest in Kenosha, Wis., in connection to the earlier police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Rittenhouse fatally shot two men and wounded another after traveling from his home state of Illinois to Kenosha; he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured 26-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz. His attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense.

The case ignited a storm of media attention and strong and differing opinions.

After the verdict was read, outrage and, for some, celebration ensued outside of the courthouse where demonstrators had been gathering throughout the trial, according to the Kenosha News.

On Friday evening, protests broke out in several cities across the country. Authorities in Portland, Ore., referred to one incident near the Multnomah County Justice Center as a riot and warned all present to vacate the area or risk being met with force. The Portland Police Bureau said a "significant part of the crowd" were engaging in "violent, destructive behavior" that included breaking windows and throwing objects at officers on the scene.

Around 200 protesters gathered that night in the downtown Portland area, local outlet KOIN reports. One person was arrested, but in connection to an outstanding warrant, according to the outlet. Another received a criminal citation; others who were pulled over in their cars received citations and warnings, the police said. Most of the crowd reportedly dissipated by 11 p.m. that evening.

In Chicago, between 60 and 100 protesters met near Federal Plaza to march downtown, making it to Michigan Avenue and Madison Street before they were stopped by police, CBS Chicago reports. The outlet also reports that robberies that took place in a number of stores in the area were not proven to be connected to any demonstrations, and police have confirmed that looting claims they received were not true.

The Party of Socialism and Liberation was the organizer of Friday's demonstration in Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Demonstrators are reportedly planning to attend another protest, again at Federal Plaza, on Saturday evening.

Similar scenes occurred in New York City and California. Around 200 people met near the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to protest Rittenhouse's acquittal, the New York Daily News reports. The group made its way to the Brooklyn Bridge without any arrests, but another demonstration in Queens ended with five men being taken into custody, according to the outlet.

And in California, protesters gathered in Oakland, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: November 19, 2021 at 8:00 PM AKST
An earlier version of this story stated that Rittenhouse traveled from Illinois to Wisconsin with an assault-style rifle. In fact, he armed himself with the rifle in Wisconsin.