US President Joe Biden on Friday said he stands by the jury’s not-guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, saying the jury system in the United States works and must be respected. “Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded,” he said, according to CNN reports. “The jury system works, and we have to abide by it.”

Rittenhouse on Friday was acquitted of all charges in the killing of two men and wounding of a third at a Wisconsin protest against racial injustice last year. Rittenhouse, 18, pleaded self-defence in the deadly Kenosha shootings that became a flashpoint in the country’s debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice.

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Following the announcement of the verdict, Rittenhouse cried and hugged one of his attorneys. He had been charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering after killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests over police violence against Black people in the summer of 2020. The former police youth cadet is white, as were those he shot.

The panel of five men and seven women deliberated more than 25 hours over the past four days in a closely watched case. The verdict cannot be appealed.

The President’s comments come after he returned from a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that lasted more than five hours, where he received a routine physical and a colonoscopy.

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“I just heard a moment ago,” Biden said when asked about the Rittenhouse verdict. “I didn’t watch the trial.”

Later, in a public statement, Biden said, ” While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken.”

“I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy,” he added. Biden also said that he had been in contact with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’s office to prepare for any outcome in this case.

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“I have spoken with the Governor this afternoon and offered support and any assistance needed to ensure public safety,” he added.

Meanwhile, asked if he stood by his past comments equating Rittenhouse to a white supremacist, Biden didn’t directly answer. 

With inputs from the Associated Press