(Headline USA) A Kentucky congressman said a teenager charged with homicide during the riots in Wisconsin showed “incredible restraint” and acted in self-defense.
Rep. Thomas Massie also told a radio interviewer on Thursday that if he were on the jury, he would vote to acquit the teenager if the evidence was based on video he had seen of the melee.
Massie, a Republican, defended the Illinois teen, Kyle Rittenhouse.
Massie’s Democratic challenger in the November election, Alexandra Owensby, accused the congressman of continuing to “throw fuel on the fire.”
“When people are being killed in the streets, a representative should never praise the killer,” Owensby said in a statement. “I shouldn’t even have to say this.”
Rittenhouse has said he went to the Kenosha protests to protect businesses and people.
“What does it say about our country where this lawlessness is going on to the extent that a 17-year-old feels compelled to stop it?” Massie said during the interview this week with WVHU in West Virginia. “To be the one to turn the tide. I think it says a lot for the 17-year-old.”
On Aug. 25, Rittenhouse fatally shot two rioters who attacked him and had a weapon drawn on him, authorities said. One other person was also shot.
Rittenhouse, who is white, faces several charges, including first-degree intentional homicide. His attorney says it was self-defense.
Massie referred to video he had seen as the “strongest thing” in support of the teen, saying Rittenhouse was “fulfilling his obligation to retreat” from people chasing and attacking him.
The congressman said that Rittenhouse had “exhibited incredible restraint and presence and situational awareness. He didn’t empty a magazine into a crowd.”
In March, Massie was in the national spotlight when he attempted to force a roll call vote on a massive coronavirus aid package. While his effort failed, Massie’s action forced hundreds of lawmakers to return to the Capitol.