Protests broke out in several cities across the United States Friday evening after a jury cleared Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges in the killings of two people and injury of a third during an anti-racist protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. Officials had been bracing for massive protests after the verdict and Gov. Tony Evers placed 500 National Guard members on alert. But there were no major clashes or unrest in Kenosha, where protesters had gathered outside the courthouse where Rittenhouse was acquitted.
In Portland, however, police declared a riot as protests turned violent amid reports that demonstrators had smashed windows of cars and stores. Police said protesters threw objects at officers and attempted to breach the Justice Center building as they talked of burning it down. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office declared the riot when the gate to the Justice Center detention area was damaged although police in Portland were the first to tweet there was a riot. No one was arrested and the crowd of around 200 people had largely dispersed by around 11 p.m.
Local ABC affiliate KATU said a small group of protesters attacked one of the station’s camera operators as they tried to prevent the crew from filing what was going on in downtown Portland. The crew was not injured although a camera was a damaged.
Demonstrators also gathered in New York City as hundreds of people marched through Brooklyn. Later on in the evening, protesters marched on Brooklyn Bridge and shut down the Manhattan bound lanes. The protest was peaceful and there were no arrests. New York police tweeted photos of vehicles that had been vandalized in Queens and five people were arrested for allegedly damaging cars and houses in the area. Smaller protests also took place in Chicago and Oakland.