In Kenosha in 2020, there was an uprising after police officer Rusten Sheskey shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back and side. White supremacists near and far came to “defend businesses” and help the police repress protestors. This includes Illinois resident Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse shot three protestors that night: Gaige Grosskreutz, Joseph Rosenbaum, and Anthony Huber. Gaige Grosskreutz, a legal observer for the ACLU, tried to stop Rittenhouse by drawing his own gun, but chose not to shoot. Rittenhouse shot him in the hand and arm. Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, both unarmed, also tried to stop Rittenhouse. He responded by murdering them both.

People witnessed the shootings and shouted at the police that he killed someone. However, when Rittenhouse tried to surrender to the police, they ignored him. They had no reason to arrest someone they were working with. Rittenhouse returned home safe and sound that night, unlike the three people he shot, and unlike many of the others present that night demanding justice.

He was brought to trial before an almost all white jury and an openly biased judge. Judge Schroeder would not allow the prosecutors to refer to the people Rittenhouse murdered as “victims.” Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to all charges on the grounds that he was acting in self defense. However, the “weapons” he claims he was defending himself against included a plastic bag holding a few items and a skateboard. On Friday, November 19, he was acquitted of all charges: first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety.

This is yet more evidence that the justice system is for the white and wealthy. Officer Sheskey did not face consequences, and now Rittenhouse, a murderer, is off the hook as well. This will no doubt embolden white supremacists to attack people fighting for justice. We must keep up the fight.

The fact that Rittenhouse and Officer Sheskey were acquitted after countless people, including the victims Rittenhouse killed, took to the streets to demand justice shows that we need Civilian Police Accountability Councils (CPAC) now! Community control of the police puts the power back into the hands of the people. We cannot let racist cops and white supremacist vigilantes run to a justice system that favors them. We cannot let police departments get away with putting out a call to white supremacist citizens for help repressing protests.

This is why National SDS is starting an emergency call to action for all chapters! Justice for Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz! Justice for Jacob Blake! Justice for all victims of police crimes! Dare to struggle! Dare to win!