America is bracing for a night of unrest after Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts, a decision that has stunned politicians and enraged liberals who wanted him jailed.
The trial captured the nation and as it played out on TV, tensions were rising but contained.
They exploded on Friday afternoon as the jury acquitted Rittenhouse on all counts and now, there are widespread fears of how the country will react.
In Kenosha, there are 500 National Guard troops on stand-by but there are also fears for how outraged citizens in other major cities like Portland, New York, Seattle and Chicago, will react.
All of those cities – and more – saw violent protests last year at the height of the BLM movement that caused the riots Rittenhouse found himself in on August 25, 2020.
Officially, the police departments are staying quiet on how they are preparing for fear of tipping off any crowds of protesters.
Sergeant Betsy Brantner-Smith, a retired 20-year veteran from a Chicago area police force, told DailyMail.com on Friday that all of the ingredients for chaos are there.
Police peer out the door of the Kenosha County Courthouse after the third day of jury deliberations on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial ended without a verdict, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 18, 2021
Wisconsin Army National Gaurd at the Sussex Armory Park practice with riot shields and batons ahead of the jury verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial.
Wisconsin Army National Gaurd at the Sussex Armory Park practice with riot shields and batons ahead of the jury verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial
‘There is going to be some consternation about this verdict and it’s largely based on a misunderstanding of the justice system and the law.
‘My first move would be to engage with the community to make sure people do have a place to protest peacefully, but parallel to that I would make it very clear that we’re going to have zero tolerance for violence, looting and arson. We have got to make that clear. We cannot tolerate a national temper tantrum over a trial verdict,’ she said.
She added that particularly in major cities like ‘Chicago, Portland, New York and Seattle’, police forces must watch carefully and respond quickly.
One major issue is that the verdict came back on a Friday afternoon, which she says is more conducive to violent unrest.
‘In some areas, I think violence is likely. Possible tonight. The problem is that we’re going into the weekend – it’s Friday night. There are going to be some opportunistic people who are going to stir up violence and we have to not tolerate that.
Kyle Rittenhouse, left, collapses to his chair and cries after he is found not guilt on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. The jury came back with its verdict after close to 3 1/2 days of deliberation
‘First of all, it’s late in some areas, on the east coast, we’re going towards the evening. It’s fall, so it gets darker sooner and it’s always easier to commit crimes under the cover of darkness. It makes it more dangerous for law enforcement and businesses.
‘When we go into the weekend, people have the weekend off and people who might not have wanted to get involved in a violent riot because they have work the next day may be more likely to say “well I’m going to go down there and see what’s going on.”
‘Things have always been a little more dicey on the weekends.
‘It depends on weather, and the sentiment of the local leadership.’
In America’s Democratic cities, there are yet to be calls for any calm.
Instead, Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York City tweeted of the verdict: ‘Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum are victims. They should be alive today. The only reason they’re not is because a violent, dangerous man chose to take a gun across state lines and start shooting people.
‘To call this a miscarriage of justice is an understatement.’
There has also been no word from the White House on the need for calm tonight and over the rest of the weekend.
The White House is rushing to put out a statement.