Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted on all charges related to his fatal shooting of two people at a racial injustice protest last year, says he supports the Black Lives Matter movement.
"I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement. I support peacefully demonstrating," Rittenhouse told Fox News' Tucker Carlson in an interview that aired Monday night.
"And I believe there needs to be change. I believe there’s a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case, but in other cases," he said. "And it’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of somebody."
Rittenhouse, 18, was found not guilty Friday of charges related to the fatal shooting of two men and the wounding of a third during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white police officer.
Rittenhouse's lawyers argued that Rittenhouse, of neighboring Illinois, was defending himself from attackers after he went to Wisconsin to protect businesses and provide medical assistance during the demonstrations in August 2020.
"I told everybody there: 'I had to do it. I was just attacked.' I was dizzy. I was vomiting. I couldn’t breathe," Rittenhouse told Carlson. He said he tried to turn himself into police that night but was told to leave and was pepper-sprayed.
“This case has nothing to do with race. It never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defense,” he added.
Rittenhouse's acquittal sparked some protests around the country, while many conservatives rejoiced. Conservatives paid most of his $2 million bond last year through a legal defense fund, and he has been met with praise by right-wing commentators, including Carlson.
After Rittenhouse was released on bond, prosecutors said he was spotted at a Wisconsin bar flashing the “OK” sign — a gesture that has been co-opted by known white supremacist groups.
He was also seen consuming alcohol while being serenaded by a group of adult men who sang the Proud Boys’ anthem, according to prosecutors who filed a motion with the court to restrict him from doing such things.
Rittenhouse's lawyer said at the time that he was not and never had been a member of a white supremacist group.
Rittenhouse told Carlson that lies have been told about him and that his case has been politicized.
He was critical of President Joe Biden, who during the 2020 presidential campaign tweeted that President Donald Trump "refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage."
The tweet included a campaign video that included a still image of Rittenhouse, among other footage of other events. The question at the debate was about white supremacists and militia groups and mentioned violence in Kenosha and Portland, Oregon.
"Mr. President, if I could say one thing to you, I would urge you to go back and watch the trial and understand the facts before you make a statement," Rittenhouse said in the interview that aired Monday. "It's actual malice, defaming my character, for him to say something like that."
Rittenhouse is an online student at Arizona State University and said he hopes to attend school on campus, but he's not sure yet. Rittenhouse said he wants to become a nurse and may study law.
"I'm hoping I can live a quiet, stress-free life and be free of any intimidation or harassment and just go on with my life as a normal 18-year-old kid attending college," he said.