As the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is ongoing, it has garnered the attention of the entire media and our nation’s members of Congress as well.
The 18-year-old Rittenhouse is facing five felony counts: one count of first-degree intentional homicide for the death of Anthony Huber, one count of first-degree reckless homicide for the death of Joseph Rosenbaum, two counts of reckless endangerment for firing a gun near others and one count of first degree attempted intentional homicide for the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, NPR reported.
The jury is now in its second day of deliberations. But even as the trial was ongoing, one congressman decided it was appropriate to comment on the situation.
Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York tweeted on Nov. 10, “Lock up Kyle Rittenhouse and throw away the key.” He tweeted this on the day that Rittenhouse took the stand in his trial.
Lock up Kyle Rittenhouse and throw away the key.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@hakeemjeffries) November 10, 2021
Jeffries immediately faced considerable backlash to the comment on Twitter.
Particularly, many commented on the fact that the statement against Rittenhouse seemed to be a complete contradiction to Jeffries’ previous comments that mass incarceration needs to be ended and prisons needed to be defunded.
This you? pic.twitter.com/BbsaKaeiXb
— Dan O’Donnell (@DanODonnellShow) November 10, 2021
Rittenhouse’s actions, and now trial, have been very divisive as many prominent figures and lawmakers have weighed in on the situation.
But it is inappropriate for congressmen and lawmakers to be shouting their opinions like this while a trial is going on that will determine the rest of an 18-year-old’s life. This can be viewed as an attempt to sway a trial and the very system of justice.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy seemed to grasp this when he called out Jeffries’ blatant comment and criticized the Democrats for doing nothing.
“When [Rep. Hakeem Jeffries] tweeted a week ago, ‘Lock up Kyle Rottenhouse and throw away the key,’ in an attempt to sway an ongoing trial, the Democrats said nothing. Why? Rules for thee but not for me,” McCarthy said Wednesday from the House floor.
.@GOPLeader: “When [Rep. Hakeem Jeffries] tweeted a week ago, ‘Lock up Kyle Rottenhouse and throw away the key,’ in an attempt to sway an ongoing trial, the Democrats said nothing. Why? Rules for thee but not for me.” pic.twitter.com/O8N2EHEWRx
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) November 17, 2021
While it is inappropriate that Jeffries made this comment, he wasn’t the first member of Congress to give unprofessional remarks while a trial was underway. Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California set the precedent during the Derek Chavin trial over George Floyd’s death.
Waters addressed protesters in Minneapolis before the verdict came out, telling them that if Chauvin was found not guilty, they needed to be confrontational.
“We gotta stay on the street, we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational, we’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business,” Waters said, according to The Associated Press.
Judge Peter Cahill, who was presiding over the Chauvin trial, called Waters out for these inappropriate comments and said it was “disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch,” the AP wrote.
McCarthy was also one of the congressmen who rebuked Waters at the time, saying that she was inciting violence.
Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis — just as she has incited it in the past. If Speaker Pelosi doesn’t act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 19, 2021
Jeffries’ comments should be viewed in the same light as Waters’ inflammatory speech. It is wrong for prominent figures and lawmakers to be making public comments like this that disrespect the judicial process and rule of law.
But besides the disrespect that Jeffries is showing our justice system, he is also showing contempt for human life.
Lest anyone forget, Rittenhouse is merely 18 years old, and the jury is holding the fate of his life in their hands. Regardless of his guilt or lack thereof, he doesn’t deserve this kind of flippancy about his existence. If there isn’t going to be respect for the rule of law, there should at the very least be a respect for the human life that this is affecting.
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