Racism ‘was not in defendant’s mind’ – Joe Biden

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jerome Rittenhouse is a Philadelphia reporter and documentary maker

US Vice President Joe Biden has said a jury has acquitted a man accused of murdering three black people as a result of racial bias.

Jerome Rittenhouse, who is white, was found not guilty of murder and related charges after a case that drew national attention.

In a statement, Mr Biden said “an angry and concerned” Mr Rittenhouse should have never been in custody.

The verdict drew harsh criticism from Mr Biden and others.

‘Know You’re Guilty’

On Monday, a jury decided Rittenhouse’s guilt only on three charges – that he shot three men and raped one of them, while trying to murder a fourth man.

In his statement, Mr Biden said he was “particularly angry and concerned about the effect that this verdict could have on members of our community who’ve struggled with violence and hate”.

At Rittenhouse’s trial, testimony from white and black experts claimed that racially-charged thoughts and statements may have influenced the jury.

Mr Biden also suggested that Rittenhouse’s acquittal could have repercussions for the rest of the country.

He added: “As I’ve said before, the potential spectre of judicial paranoia always gives me pause.

“I worry about an American society where people who appear guilty to the prosecution, on the surface, are labelled guilty in a civil forum.

“That’s not free, and it’s not American. If the way we declare guilt and innocence is through the media, we’ve lost our way, as has every civilized society.”

In a statement, Rittenhouse’s lawyer told CNN it was too early to discuss strategy or decision.

“Mr Rittenhouse continues to hold the thoughts that led him to make that decision (a guilty plea) in 2015,” Anthony Tamburo said.

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