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A small-town Texas police department has refused to apologize for a selfie one of its officers took with Kyle Rittenhouse amid online criticism, noting how the now 19-year-old was acquitted by a jury of his peers in the August 2020 shooting. Three performers in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Make those stops, you never know who you might meet. Welcome to Kyle Rittenhouse, Texas today,” the Thrall Police Department, which serves the city outside Austin, wrote in a Facebook post Thursday, sharing a selfie. Unidentified officer smiling with Rittenhouse.
As of Sunday’s count, the post had received more than 1,700 comments, 1,500 shares and 10,000 likes.
After receiving an outpouring of negative comments on the post, the Thrall Police Department added a paragraph hours later: “I must be missing something, I believe this young man was arrested, charged, indicted and then found not guilty by a jury. By his peers.”
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“Can’t our country work like this anymore?” Thrall Police added. “The hate in these comments is appalling, if you have information to the contrary I would honestly love to hear it.”
Rittenhouse was 17 years old and living in Illinois when he answered online calls to protect businesses during a riot in response to the August 2021 police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin. Domestic dispute.
Amidst the chaotic scene, Rittenhouse opened fire, shooting three people, two of them fatally.
Rittenhouse testified that he fired in self-defense, and his legal team showed video indicating that the protesters first chased and attacked him before he fired his rifle. In November 2021, Rittenhouse was acquitted by a jury on all charges stemming from the shooting during a racial justice protest, but was vilified by the left-leaning media as an alleged white supremacist.
“Sick you are making him a hero. Shame on your officer and this department,” Facebook user Kari Ashpaugh of Suttuck, Oklahoma, commented below a photo shared by Rittenhouse’s Thrall Police Department and the officer smiling.
“I understand, both can kill people without consequence,” said another Facebook user, Joshua Davis, who attended Lake Erie College, according to his profile.
Several other comments slammed the post as “disgraceful,” questioned if Rittenhouse was stopped for a traffic violation and ripped the selfie as a waste of taxpayer dollars on police work.
“Is this a joke? You’re welcoming a known murderer to our kingdom?” Phoenix Woods of Plano, Texas opined. “It’s absolutely disgusting.”
Some users defended Rittenhouse in the comment section.
“Welcome to Texas Kyle and have a great year at school. Ignore these haters. They don’t know bravery. [if] It bit them in the rear,” commented Theresa Launder of Conroe, Texas.
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The now 19-year-old from Antioch, Illinois is reportedly attending Blinn College, a public junior college in Texas, with hopes of eventually transferring to Texas A&M University. Amid organized protests by student groups and an online petition opposing her enrollment, Rittenhouse said last year she would no longer attend Arizona State University, where she had planned to study nursing.