A conservative group at Arizona State University is raising money to help cover the legal defense for the teen accused of the deadly shooting at protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Kyle Rittenhouse is not a vigilante but a citizen who attempted to help in a city in chaos,” the university’s College Republicans United (CRU) stated in defense of the 17-year-old charged with first-degree intentional homicide.
“He does not deserve to have his entire life destroyed because of the actions of violent anarchists during a lawless riot,” they insisted.
The conservative group said that all funds raised this semester will go to help cover legal costs for Rittenhouse, the accused vigilante militiaman charged with killing two and seriously injuring another last Tuesday night.
University officials told the Arizona Republic newspaper that they were meeting with CRU “to learn more about this decision.”
“While there is no policy prohibiting student groups from raising funds for a cause such as this, ASU does not endorse or support this effort,” the university stressed.
The fundraiser also received a swift backlash from other students — including from a larger conservative club that demanded an investigation into the “radical, far-right extremist group.”
“We will not stand for anti-American racism at ASU. We will not stay silent as radicals attempt to hijack the narrative,” the Arizona State University College Republicans said in tweets and a statement, accusing the splinter group of “blatantly racist and antisemitic conduct.”
The group remained defiant, however, telling one critic on Twitter, “All clubs fundraise, what we do with our funds are none of your business.”
Rittenhouse remains in custody in Illinois — where he was arrested at home the day after the killings — pending extradition to Kenosha. His lawyer insists the shootings were self-defense.
The shooting unfolded Tuesday during protests over the Sunday police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha.
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