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Did Bill de Blasio inflame the Rittenhouse unrest in New York City?

AP Photo/John Minchillo

There is a long list of liberal politicians who quickly jumped into the pool after the Rittenhouse verdict was delivered, providing some of the more destructive virtue-signaling that we’ve seen in a while. The same people who lecture us endlessly about the need to support the system and not question the results of elections lest we imperil democracy were quick to throw the concepts of trial by jury and innocent until proven guilty under the bus. And the higher-up and louder those voices were, the more likely they were to fan the flames of a fire that was already threatening to burn out of control… again.

One of those voices was that of outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Before Rittenhouse even had a chance to make it out of the courthouse, Hizzoner had declared the jury’s verdict to be “disgusting.” He went on to say that the verdict “sends a horrible message to this country. Where is the justice? We can’t let this go.” Over at the New York Post, Bob McManus has an op-ed this weekend asking all of the correct questions. Rather than questioning the verdict, we should really be asking where de Blasio’s priorities lie and what vested interest he has in actual justice himself.

Bill de Blasio has a beef with the Kyle Rittenhouse jury: “This verdict is disgusting,” said his-soon-to-be-ex-honor Friday afternoon.

Imagine that. The fellow who stood dumb as a lamppost as his city descended into blood-spattered street chaos is capable of disgust after all. Little steps for little feet.

But really. Nothing says contempt for the rule of law quite like the knee-jerk rejection of a well-considered jury verdict in a highly politicized criminal case by people who not only should know better, but who have an absolute obligation to do better.

McManus references de Blasio’s declaration that “we can’t let this go.” Let what go? What does that even mean? The jury has spoken unanimously and Rittenhouse can’t be tried again because of the Double Jeopardy Clause. So what else is left in terms of ‘not letting this go?’

While not saying it directly, it certainly sounded as if the Mayor was calling for more riots in response to the verdict. That would be a curious thing to call for by the mayor of a city that’s already been torn apart by riots and looting over the past couple of years and is still dealing with significant unrest.

Right on cue, however, that’s exactly what de Blasio got. Hundreds of people took to the streets by nightfall. Fights broke out and injuries (thankfully minor) were reported. Property damage took place. At least five people were arrested. Granted, it was thankfully nowhere near the worst levels of violence and mayhem that were seen during last year’s BLM riots and the massive, planned looting that lasted for more than a year. But it was reminiscent enough of those events to make people nervous yet again.

Does Bill de Blasio ever think before he opens his mouth? The man is the mayor of one of the largest cities in the world and still reportedly fancies himself a future governor or president. When he speaks, the press broadcasts his words and people respond. This week his message was that you can’t trust the courts and the juries who hear cases to deliver justice, even when those juries are comprised of regular people like you, most of whom were only there because they couldn’t come up with a good enough excuse to get out of jury duty.

To be clear, I could list any number of high-profile trials over the years where I didn’t much care for the outcome and would have voted differently had I been on the jury. But I was watching from the peanut gallery like everyone else, so I didn’t get a vote. And it didn’t make me go out and start setting buildings on fire or abandoning my faith in our system of justice. It may not always be perfect, but it’s the only one we have.