▶ Watch Video: Jacob Blake’s uncle says Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was “an atrocity”

Justin Blake, the uncle of Jacob Blake, said race played a role in Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal, and he believes the teen was guilty. Rittenhouse on Friday was found not guilty after he shot three men, killing two of them, at protests that erupted over police shooting and wounding Jacob Blake last year.

“If you are Caucasian, these are the things that you can do,” Justin Blake told CBS News’ Lana Zak on Saturday. He said the verdict was “an atrocity” and a “miss-service of justice.”

On August 23, 2020, officers were dispatched for a domestic dispute in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jacob Blake’s attorney said he was attempting to break up a dispute but the local police union said a complaint alleged he was attempting to steal a vehicle. Bystander video of the incident showed Jacob Blake walking away from police before an officer shot him multiple times in the back. The Department of Justice later declined to charge the officer. 

Jacob Blake’s attorneys said he was paralyzed as a result of the incident, but he did survive. On Saturday, Justin Blake said his nephew is doing well. “Mentally, he’s on top of the world,” he said. 

The graphic video of Jacob Blake’s police encounter went viral on social media, sparking nights of unrest and protest nationwide last summer.

Ahead of one of those protests, Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, traveled to Kenosha with the intention, he claimed, of helping protect local businesses and providing first aid. Armed with an AR-15 style rifle, Rittenhouse was in the midst of the crowd and shot three men, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz. 

“These are middle-class people that were supporting their fight for African descendant rights, using their First Amendment rights in Kenosha,” Justin Blake said of those killed by Rittenhouse. “They were met in the middle of the street and shot down and murdered by this young man, and he is walking clear and free.”

He said he has spoken to the families of the men that Rittenhouse killed and called them “beautiful people.” 

Rittenhouse had faced life in prison for five charges. His attorneys argued that the teen opened fire only in self-defense, while prosecutors said Rittenhouse was an aggressor and a liar. 

Justin Blake said he believes Rittenhouse was guilty. “Who walks into a courtroom that was going to jail for 25 to life and walks away clear and free?” he asked. 

He criticized Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder for “not allowing evidence to be seen and heard” at the trial. 

“This is showing the underbelly of what America truly has been in the last 120 years,” Justin Blake said. “The underbelly is racist as hell.”

Clare Hymes contributed reporting.