Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Play

The pandemic compelled many teachers to integrate new technology into lesson plans, increasing the risks excessive screen time can pose to students; and there's a push in New Mexico to address LGBTQ issues.

Play

The King Day holiday is marked with calls for voting rights reform; U.S. airlines warn of disruptions from 5G mobile phone signals; and a bipartisan trip reaffirms U.S. commitment to Ukraine.

Play

New website profiles missing and murdered Native Americans; more support for young, rural Minnesotans who've traded sex for food, shelter, drugs or alcohol; more communities step up to solve "period poverty;" and find your local gardener - Jan. 29 is National Seed Swap Day.

Rittenhouse Case Viewed as Symptom of Uneven Democracy

Play

Tuesday, November 16, 2021   

KENOSHA, Wis. -- In a trial that drew worldwide attention, a Kenosha County jury on Friday acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges related to the high-profile case. A Wisconsin group focused on improving the lives of Black residents said the case speaks to issues of democracy not working for everybody.

The 18-year-old Rittenhouse was charged with killing two protesters in Kenosha last year and wounding another with a semi-automatic rifle. Prosecutors say the Illinois resident was a vigilante in a situation where he didn't belong. But the teen's lawyers say he acted in self-defense after crossing state lines to protect property amid protests over police brutality.

Kyle Johnson, Kenosha-based community organizer with the group Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC), feels the legal system paved the way for someone to take the law into their own hands.

"The legal system in this country operates with a tint -- more than a tint -- with a shade, with a shadow of racism," Johnson contended.

Legal experts have said the case hinged on self-defense laws. Reform advocates say Wisconsin's statute for such situations is too murky and needs an overhaul.

Racial-justice groups add Rittenhouse is being portrayed as a martyr by those who strongly back police. But his backers say he had no other choice but to shoot amid the surrounding chaos, while also noting all those Rittenhouse shot were white.

As it relates to democracy, researchers have noted criminal justice issues help to further alienate BIPOC voters, making them reluctant to demand fairness through civic engagement.

The Kenosha incidents happened in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man left paralyzed by his injuries.

Angela Lang, executive director of BLOC, said not taking steps to implement meaningful police reforms or change self-defense laws will only create more situations with complex legal questions.

"This continues to happen because there is a space that we are giving, that is allowing for this to happen," Lang asserted.

She feels white supremacy has too much influence within the legal system, arguing people like Rittenhouse are given ample opportunity to act recklessly, while people like Breonna Taylor don't even have a chance to defend themselves. Taylor was the Black medical worker shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March 2020 during a botched raid on her apartment.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


get more stories like this via email
Experts say blue light inhibits melatonin production and interferes with sleep. (Reewungjunerr/Adobestock)

Health and Wellness

Statistics show thanks to the pandemic, Americans are now glued to their digital devices an average of 13 hours a day, up from 7 or 8 hours a day …


Social Issues

Today, the day after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, comes a chance to put our ideals into action on the sixth annual National Day of Racial …

Health and Wellness

As many Virginia schools pivot back to temporary virtual learning, some students are spending more time in front of screens. In response, the …


Oil and natural-gas production is the largest industrial source of methane pollution in the country. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comments through the end of this month regarding a proposal which would sharply reduce m…

Environment

Connecticut has secured its first National Estuarine Research Reserve along part of the state's Long Island Sound. Conservationists applaud the news …

If a constitutional amendment makes it onto the ballot and passes in November, Missouri will join Maine and Alaska, which both use ranked-choice voting for statewide elections. (Burlingham/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A ballot initiative in Missouri is seeking to change the way statewide elections are run. Currently, in the Show-Me State, there are party primaries …

Environment

Proposed legislation would end subsidies for wood-burning power plants in Massachusetts by removing biomass as an eligible fuel source for the Commonw…

Social Issues

New Mexico's short, 30-day legislative session starts today with a focus on budget issues. Nonetheless, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021