Kyle Rittenhouse verdict: Residents comment on moving forward

The Kenosha community is now moving forward after the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, which ended with the delivery of the jury's not-guilty verdict Friday, Nov. 19.

After the sounds of flames in August 2020, and three weeks of demonstrations outside the Kenosha County Courthouse in November 2021, Jason Becker enjoyed the quiet of the Kenosha lakefront Saturday.

"Kenosha’s a great city. It’s a great town. There’s a lot to offer," Becker said.

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Civic Park, across from the courthouse, was cleared out. Only a few national media outlets remained Saturday after what felt like a year and a half in the national spotlight.

"It’s actually overwhelming because people aren’t used to this notoriety," said Becker.

Sunset in Kenosha on Saturday, Nov. 20 -- one day after verdict delivered in Kyle Rittenhouse trial

The Rittenhouse trial lasted longer than anticipated:

  • 1 day to select the jury
  • 8 days of, at times heated, testimony and debate – including Rittenhouse himself taking the stand
  • 1 day to finalize jury instructions and argue about evidence
  • 1 day for closing arguments
  • 3 ½ days of deliberation, culminating with the verdict

After some demonstrations and one arrest Friday night, Kenosha was quiet Saturday. Becker hopes the city learns from what happened and becomes better for it.

"I’m hoping nothing happens forward, and we can just build Kenosha together as one big family actually," said Becker.

"I think the community responded like ‘Kenosha Strong,’ and everyone came together throughout the whole situation," said Shawn Laduke.

Shawn and Pat Laduke have lived in Kenosha for six years. Their home is near the Kenosha County Courthouse, where they could hear the chaos that transpired here in August 2020.

"We could hear it all. We could hear the helicopters," said Shawn Laduke.

Kyle Rittenhouse and defense team

Kyle Rittenhouse and defense team

Now, after more than a year of Kenosha being on the world stage and the Kyle Rittenhouse trial over, the question is: What’s next?

"We’re just going to keep on keeping on. The town has weathered this well," said Pat Laduke.

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Peace and healing for Kenosha is something the Ladukes think everyone can get behind.

"Things will change, I think, for the better. When things like this happen, we have to look for opportunities to make things better," said Shawn Laduke.

As of Saturday evening, a Wisconsin National Guard spokesperson said 500 troops are still on standby if needed.

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