Jury acquits teenager in Wisconsin shootings

A jury has acquitted a teenager of all charges in the fatal shooting of two men during racial justice protests in the midwestern US state of Wisconsin.

Kyle Rittenhouse opened fire in the city of Kenosha in August last year during protests over the police shooting of a Black man.

The jurors found Rittenhouse not guilty on Friday of charges including homicide, after four days of deliberations. He was 17 years old at the time of the shooting.

Rittenhouse pleaded innocent, saying he acted in self-defense against the demonstrators.

The verdict is final as prosecutors cannot appeal.

The National Guard has been dispatched to the area in the wake of the ruling, as authorities step up vigilance against possible protests. Rittenhouse was reportedly linked to white supremacists. The jury was also said to be overwhelmingly white.

President Joe Biden issued a statement calling for calm. He said, "While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken."

Biden urged people to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. He said, "Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy."