Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Friday admitted to Newsmax that he had to "hold back tears" while watching Kyle Rittenhouse's emotional response to the Kenosha, Wisconsin, jury's verdict that he was not guilty of any of the charges filed in connection with the shooting deaths of two protesters and the wounding of another during Black Lives Matters protests last year.
"I've talked to this young man," Clarke said in an interview on Newsmax's "American Agenda." "He's been under a lot. Think of this, 17 or 18 years old; all over the world, they were watching this case. He became a household name, for heaven's sake."
And now that Rittenhouse has been acquitted, Clarke said he hopes he'll be allowed to go with his family and "live somewhat of a normal life," even though that will be "very difficult."
Meanwhile, Clarke said he is concerned that the National Guard wasn't ready and stationed for when the jury's verdict was announced, considering the high-profile case and the number of protesters who have gathered outside the Kenosha courthouse all week.
"If I would have been in charge of the security of that operation, I would have already had them deployed in certain key strategic areas around that courthouse ahead of time," said Clarke.
He said he understands that the National Guard, which has been deployed, is still a few counties away and he's surprised that the verdict came out with so little notice.
"They are two counties away," he said. "That's irresponsible."
Clarke, however, said Democrat Gov. Tony Evers "dropped the ball" when the Kenosha riots occurred, and has also made the decision this time not to have an immediate National Guard presence in Kenosha.
However, Clarke said he doesn't think there will be "huge" incidents after the Rittenhouse verdict.
"At the same time, you know, the persecution of Kyle Rittenhouse is over, and I said persecution, not prosecution," said Clarke. "This was a politically motivated witch hunt, if you will, to get this young man. It was obvious self-defense. I'm hoping this is a pivotal moment in our system of justice."
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