Among the many institutions now taking irrational and woke stands as opposed to principled ones, the American Civil Liberties Union stands out. Once my favorite civil-rights organization, known for enforcing the First Amendment, fighting for racial equality but also the speech rights of Nazis, the ACLU was designed to protect every American’s constitutional rights.
Now it’s become a progressive-Left Social Justice organization. I’ve written about this transformation many times; among its activities is calling for the censoring of Abigail Shrier’s book on poorly considered “affirmative therapy” for gender dysphoric kids, changing a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote on abortion so that her references to “women” were changed to “persons,” favoring legislation that allows medically and psychologically untreated biological males who identify as women to compete in women’s sports, and opposing Betsy DeVos’s changes in Title IX guidelines for sexual harassment prosecution as “inappropriately favoring the accused.” (Those changes, by the way, were one of the rare instances of the Trump administration creating a change for the better, for they mandates fairer and more just procedures.)
Speaking of “inappropriately favoring the accused,” the ACLU, letting its Wisconsin branch speak for the organization as a whole, has just issued a statement that seems to say that the Rittenhouse verdict was wrong, also inappropriately favoring the accused:
Click on the screenshot to read:
Shaadie Ali, interim executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, stated:
“Despite Kyle Rittenhouse’s conscious decision to take the lives of two people protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake by police, he was not held responsible for his actions, something that is not surprising. But Kyle Rittenhouse isn’t the only one responsible for the deaths that night. The events in Kenosha stem from the deep roots of white supremacy in our society’s institutions. They underscore that the police do not protect communities of color in the same way they do white people.
. . .“Rittenhouse’s trial highlights an urgent need for reform for both police and the criminal legal system. The system is broken, and it desperately needs to be fixed.”
Brandon Buskey, director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, stated:
“Kyle Rittenhouse was a juvenile who traveled across state lines on a vigilante mission, was allowed by police to roam the streets of Kenosha with an assault rifle and ended up shooting three people and killing two. These are the simple, tragic facts. His acquittal comes after an ACLU investigation exposing how Kenosha law enforcement used violence against protesters and drove them toward white militia groups, in ways that escalated tensions and almost certainly led to these shootings.
“This complicity, along with the reason for the protests that Rittenhouse took it upon himself to confront — the police shooting of a Black man outside of a family function — highlights that the violence in Kenosha is not an anomaly, but rather endemic to a system built upon white supremacy.
Many of these statements are contestable, including the notion that Rittenhouse was a white supremacist who killed white demonstrators because they were supporting Black Lives Matter protests. In fact, one of the men he killed was apparently a racist, and he killed, as the jury determined, in self defense. Rittenhouse is certainly not a saint or someone I’d want to hang around with—why would someone go to a protest with a gun, even (as Rittenhouse maintained, to guard a car dealership?—that’s asking for trouble. He seems to be troubled and confused. But from the outset Rittenhouse had a credible claim of self-defense, and the videos bore that out.
As for his “white supremacy”, this is what the NY Post says (you can check other sources if you don’t like this one):
The FBI scoured Kyle’s phone and found nothing about white supremacy or militias, the court heard. All they saw were pro-police, “Blue Lives Matter” posts from a kid who had been a police and fire department cadet, wanted to be a police officer or paramedic and once sat near the front of a Trump rally. That was enough for the media to brand him a white supremacist.
The media had a narrative it bought into early, and refused to give it up in the face of the videos, the verdict, and the facts. The ACLU statement, from an organization designed to protect the civil rights of the accused from unjust state power, is now refusing to do that for Rittenhouse. The reason they are not defending Rittenhouse despite the verdict is simply because he was white and supposedly killed white men because they were supposedly supporting a Black Lives Matter protest. The jury said he killed because he had credible threats of being killed or harmed.
As Jesse Singal wrote on the preview of his pay-for-view Substack column:
If you know anything about the ACLU’s history or reasons for existing, these are very strange — disturbing, I’d argue — statements. The ACLU of Wisconsin seems to be saying Kyle Rittenhouse should have been convicted. What else could a statement noting that he “was not held responsible for his actions,” issued the day of his full acquittal, possibly mean? If you don’t think he was guilty of the crimes he was accused of, there’s nothing for him to have been “held responsible” for. The ACLU is supposed to stand on the side of vulnerable people facing a justice system that has a chronic tendency to overcharge and to withhold from suspects and defendants their full constitutional rights. Why is the ACLU of Wisconsin siding with that system — especially without any further explanation as to why this was an unjust ruling?
And here’s another one I found, but won’t quote or dissect, on the MSNBC website. Click to access: