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President Biden said he’s ‘angry and concerned’ over the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, but he added that ‘we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken.’

President Joe Biden told reporters on Friday that he stands by a Wisconsin jury’s acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse in the fatal shooting of two people and the wounding of another during racial justice protests last year in Kenosha, adding that “the jury system works and we have to abide by it.”

“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,” the president later said in a statement.

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On Friday, the 18-year old Rittenhouse was found not guilty on multiple counts, including first-degree intentional homicide. Prosecutors said the armed teen recklessly provoked the shootings during a time of unrest, while the defense said he was acting in self-defense. The verdict sparked celebration among some of those on the right, while others criticized the decision, expressing fears that it may inspire vigilantism throughout the country.

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Biden urged everyone to “express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law,” emphasizing that “violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy.”

According to the president’s statement, the administration has been in contact with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’s office to “prepare for any outcome.”

“No ruling today changes our reality in Wisconsin that we have work to do toward equity, accountability, and justice that communities across our state are demanding and deserve,” Evers said in a statement after the jury’s ruling. “I echo the calls of local Kenosha community leaders and join them in asking everyone who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights in any community to please only do so safely and peacefully.”

Last year, former President Donald Trump defended Rittenhouse, saying he was acting in self defense. Biden did not mention the former president in his statement.

“I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us,” Biden said. “I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law.”

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