The teenager acquitted after killing two people and wounding a third at a racial justice protest in the US has claimed he is “not racist” and supports the Black Lives Matter movement.
In his first interview since the trial, the 18-year-old told host Tucker Carlson: “This case has nothing to do with race, it never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defence.
“I’m not a racist person, I support the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement. I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to be change.”
Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges over the August 2020 shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Anger has grown across the US following the verdict, with a protest involving around 200 people in Portland, Oregon, turning violent and then being declared a riot.
There were peaceful protests elsewhere, including in New York where crowds marched through the streets.
The teenager, the two men he killed and the man he wounded were all white, but the case has reignited the debate over racial justice, guns and vigilantism in the US.
Amnesty International said “the painful reality is that our country’s criminal justice system – and our society – is predicated on white supremacy and anti-Black racism”.
The organisation’s US executive director, Paul O’Brien, added: “Allowing private individuals, in this case a teenager, to arm themselves and take to the streets with no accountability for their actions will only serve to embolden vigilantism and act as a force multiplier for future violent clashes.”
Rittenhouse was acquitted on two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety in the Kenosha racial justice protests.
He was aged 17 when he travelled to Kenosha and then walked the streets carrying a semi-automatic rifle.
Following the ruling, President Biden said he supported the jury’s decision and urged people to react with calm.