Kyle Rittenhouse
People protest after the ‘not guilty’ verdict was announced in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, in Portland, Oregon, US, on November 19, 2021 in this still image obtained from a video. Image Credit: Reuters

Washington: Small groups of protesters angry over the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict demonstrated Friday evening in Chicago, New York, Portland, Oregon, and a few other cities.

In Portland, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office declared a riot near the Multnomah County Justice Centre, which houses a jail and Portland’s police headquarters. The Portland Police Bureau said that demonstrators had been breaking windows and damaging doors of city facilities.

Other demonstrations around the country were peaceful.

In Chicago, several dozen demonstrators gathered in downtown and marched in opposition to the verdict. Outside the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York, protesters trickled into the crowds arriving at the arena for the evening’s Nets game.

Sean Stefanic of Brooklyn said he was there for the protest, not the game.

“The fact that we are not surprised by this is the reason I am here,” Stefanic, 37, said. “Because it is not surprising anymore, despite the past year, especially after the George Floyd tragedy.”

Saman Waquad, 38, of Woodside, Queens, said she worried the verdict would embolden counter-protesters to carry weapons. “What does this mean for civil disobedience?” she asked. “Does it mean we cannot safely protest anymore?”

“I didn’t expect there to be full justice, but not guilty on all charges was a slap in the face,” she added. “If this was a Black or brown kid, he or she would be dead right now.”

Ari Saffron, 23, of Queens, said the Rittenhouse trial had disillusioned him, exposing “that there is no such thing as an impartial justice system.”

By around 8 p.m., the crowd had grown to about 200 people when the protesters left the arena and began to march along Flatbush Avenue toward the Manhattan Bridge.

In Columbus, Ohio, about 100 protesters upset by the verdict marched and then gathered outside the statehouse, chanting “the whole damn system is guilty as hell” and “send that killer kid to jail,” according to video posted online by The Lantern, a student newspaper at Ohio State University.