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Fox News anchor Chris Wallace slams colleagues for appearing to rationalize 17-year-old charged in Kenosha shooting: 'There is no justification'

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  • The Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pushed back against panelists on a talk show on Thursday after one pundit appeared to justify vigilante justice at the Kenosha protests by blaming Wisconsin’s leadership.

  • “On the argument of vigilante justice, when you have no police around to defend businesses and people who are being attacked and their livelihoods burned to the ground, then there is a void that is filled,” Katie Pavlich said.

  • Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois, is accused of shooting and killing two protesters and injuring a third person earlier this week. He was arrested by the police in Illinois on Wednesday and charged with homicide the following day.

  • “Just as it’s fair to say that rioting and looting is a completely inappropriate response to George Floyd or Jacob Blake, vigilante justice is a completely inappropriate response to the rioting in the street,” Wallace said.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Thursday pushed back against other hosts who appeared to justify the 17-year-old charged with killing protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“Just as it’s fair to say that rioting and looting is a completely inappropriate response to George Floyd or Jacob Blake, vigilante justice is a completely inappropriate response to the rioting in the street,” the veteran anchor said on “Outnumbered,” a Fox News talk show.

“There is no justification for what happened in Kenosha,” Wallace said. “And vigilante justice is a crime and should be punished as a crime.”

Katie Pavlich, a commentator on the show, had criticized Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, after the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said Evers rejected the Trump administration’s offers of additional law enforcement. (Evers has accepted more assistance from the National Guard.)

“When it comes to how do you stop this and why people are doing what they’re doing, you’re making a choice as a leader not to stop riots at the beginning,” Pavlich said, adding, “This is the choice leaders are making not to stop the violence initially.”

Pavlich said that “on the argument of vigilante justice, when you have no police around to defend businesses and people who are being attacked and their livelihoods burned to the ground, then there is a void that is filled.”

The host Melissa Francis agreed with Pavlich. “That’s a great point,” Francis said. “The vigilantes are just as much the fault of those local leaders who have failed so miserably.”

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois, is accused of shooting and killing two protesters and injuring a third person earlier this week in Kenosha. The protests were sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. Rittenhouse was arrested by the police in Illinois on Wednesday and charged with homicide the following day.

Posts on social media indicated that Rittenhouse idolized law enforcement and guns, having expressed support for the police and “Blue Lives Matter.”

Wallace jumped in after Pavlich blamed state officials for vigilante justice at the protests.

“There seemed to be the implication that somehow vigilante justice was understandable or justified by the lack of sufficient police action and authority and presence in some of these cities,” he said.

Francis interrupted Wallace, saying, “That’s not what was said.” Pavlich repeatedly asked who had made that point.

“I just got to say this, just as it’s completely a disconnect,” Wallace said. “That seemed to be the implication that vigilantes were filling … the void from police.”

Francis said it was a “shame” that Wallace “misunderstood the end of that segment there.” Pavlich added, “Nobody said that.”

“You were saying to fill a void,” Wallace responded. “I don’t think that’s right.”

Tucker Carlson also appeared to rationalize the Kenosha shooting

Other Fox News hosts have described vigilante justice as a byproduct of state leaders rejecting a law-enforcement presence during the protests.

The Fox News host Tucker Carlson drew criticism for his comments on Wednesday night about the Kenosha protests. During his segment, Carlson played a clip of Rittenhouse falling to the ground and shots ringing out as protesters appeared to approach him.

“What does that amount to? We’re unsure. A court will decide whether what you just saw qualifies as self-defense,” Carlson said.

“As of tonight, we really don’t have more details. We do know why it all happened though: Kenosha has devolved into anarchy because the authorities in charge of the city abandoned it.”

The Fox News host added that “people in charge, from the governor of Wisconsin on down, refused to enforce the law.”

“So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?” Carlson said. “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”

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