Hold on: New York protesters defy acquittal on ‘racist’ cop

Image copyright Jason Karcz Image caption Protesters said Mr Rittenhouse targeted the police department Kneeling together to remember those shot by officer Kyle Rittenhouse, who is now out on bail, 15 New York protesters…

Hold on: New York protesters defy acquittal on 'racist' cop

Image copyright Jason Karcz Image caption Protesters said Mr Rittenhouse targeted the police department

Kneeling together to remember those shot by officer Kyle Rittenhouse, who is now out on bail, 15 New York protesters passed through the Brooklyn Bridge tunnel with a sign that read “Runaway Racists Go Home” on Wednesday.

They included Renaldo McGhee, a PhD student in social sciences, who was among hundreds who protested against Mr Rittenhouse’s acquittal on Monday.

The 31-year-old was cleared of 13 charges, including charges of criminal possession of a weapon and four counts of first-degree assault.

Mr Rittenhouse shot and killed an unarmed 29-year-old African-American woman and her mentally disabled sister as the family held a camping trip at the park across the Brooklyn Bridge in October 2016.

Mr Rittenhouse took the stand, and told jurors he thought Tashii Sarpy and her sister Jacqueline Glover were armed. He was acquitted in their deaths by a unanimous vote of six jurors.

However, only one of the 12 jurors agreed with his story that he had acted in self-defence, according to court proceedings.

During the trial, prosecutors had depicted Mr Rittenhouse as an officer with a violent temper, who became “overzealous, angry and reckless”.

A girlfriend of Mr Rittenhouse’s, who was with him during the incident, also testified to him firing a gun twice.

Image copyright Tashii Sarpy Image caption Ms Glover’s sister Jacqueline Glover was also shot dead by Mr Rittenhouse

She claimed Mr Rittenhouse feared for his life when he shot the three women.

However, prosecutors said this was not the case, that the weapon was never found, and that in his police statements Mr Rittenhouse claimed to have owned a gun.

Assistant District Attorney Peter Thottam said Mr Rittenhouse had a history of violence and was “trigger happy” when it came to civilians.

Once that violence became personal to him, prosecutors said, he had the capacity to shoot anyone he saw as his personal “enemies”.

Mr Rittenhouse’s attorney said his client acted in self-defence when he shot the women.

Image copyright Tashii Sarpy Image caption Murdered Tashii Sarpy’s father, Rashard Sarpy

His attorneys have claimed he acted in fear of his life when he opened fire.

In a victim impact statement made during the trial, the sister of the deceased, Jacqueline Glover, read out a letter she had written to Mr Rittenhouse, asking him to stop and rethink his life.

After the acquittal, she said: “We were supposed to be a bridge not a barrier. I pray he considers re-thinking things before anyone else’s family finds out.”

Mr McGhee said the acquittal was a failure of the system: “Our justice system failed us.”

Image copyright Renaldo McGhee Image caption Ihe joined the rally in support of a group that members said “need the help of the NYPD more than ever”

He told a rally: “Here you have a cop who shot and killed, under a fair description by the mother of these two women, two innocent people who were unarmed and couldn’t figure out how to cross the bridge without killing themselves.

“The thing that was to be had was changed.”

Mr McGhee added that residents of South Carolina had the same need, with ongoing protests happening over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in their city.

He said: “There’s something about the commitment that, in this day and age, human beings can’t ask for action from their leadership of the NYPD to achieve justice.”

Mr Rittenhouse was not present at the rally, but sent a picture of himself kneeling on a New York street, captioned: “I have spent 20 years in police service helping to build a community, while drawing the lines of responsibility.”

Image copyright Jason Karcz Image caption The rally in New York’s Union Square turned into a lively protest

He was seen at the rally taking selfies and also read tweets on a megaphone.

At one point a police officer inside the tunnel asked protesters to calm down, but some stood over and jostled him.

Mr Rittenhouse, who was freed on Tuesday, was due to be taken back into custody at 10:00 BST on Wednesday to begin a sentence of community service.

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