The first hearing of the Rittenhouse trial was held on Tuesday, in Kenosha, on the charges of killing two people and wounding another one. The trial is based on the events that occurred during the chaotic protests that took place last August in the city. The protests had ensued after the shooting of a black man by a police officer.
During the chaos, some opportunists took to damaging properties and even looting local businesses. The police tried to contain the unrest but to no avail. Fuel was added to the fire when a Facebook post of a local controversial leader became viral, which called upon patriotic Americans to take up arms and reach Kenosha to control the situation and to protect local businesses.
Groups of armed men flocked to the city from nearby cities and states like ‘moths to a flame, as the prosecutor stated, forming a civilian militia. The men took positions near the local market to protect the area against the Black Lives Matter protesters.
During the day, the protesters were free to protest peacefully, however, a curfew was imposed at night. Still, some protesters continued to demand racial justice and harmony. The police were doing their best to make sure the situation did not get out of hand. However, that night things took an ugly turn. The protesters somehow got pushed down the street towards the point where the militia, known as the Kenosha Guard, was stationed.
Kyle Rittenhouse- the Alleged Murderer
Kyle Rittenhouse became part of the mostly white civil militia when he traveled from his hometown Antioch, Illinois in response to the rallying Facebook post. Aged 17, and armed with a military-style sub-machine gun he was among those stationed down the road.
The thin crowd of protestors, sandwiched between the police and the militia felt angered when they saw white men armed to the teeth. Some protestors got into a heated argument with the armed militia. Some black protestors were also armed. However, it was the interaction between Kyle Rittenhouse and Joseph Rosenbaum (a protestor who recently got out of the hospital after receiving mental health treatment).
Bystander video showed Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse down the street and throwing a plastic bag on him. Gunshots can be heard in the background. Kyle fled behind a car, with Rosenbaum following. Kyle hit the trigger about 3 times, with one bullet piercing Rosenbaum such that he died on the spot.
Kyle claims he felt threatened and that Rosenbaum was hurling death threats at him, hence, he claims to have done the act as ‘self-defense’. No video is present in which Rittenhouse is shown pulling the trigger.
The killing of Rosenbaum has been charged as first-degree reckless homicide, with the additional charge regarding the use of a dangerous weapon. If convicted, Rittenhouse can get 60 years in prison for the homicide charge and another 5 years for the additional charge.
As the news spread amongst the people of this murder, a man named Anthony Huber charged up on Rittenhouse in an attempt to disarm him. He can be seen in the video trying to hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard and getting shot at, again resulting in immediate death.
This has been charged as intentional homicide, with the same additional charge as previously mentioned. The felony can get you a sentence for life plus another 5 years for the additional charge. The sentence can be avoided if Rittenhouse can prove in court that he acted instinctively for self-defense.
Attempted First-degree Homicide, Use of Dangerous Weapon
This charge can bring about a sentence of a maximum of 60 years with a 5-year additional sentence.
Gaige Grosskreutz was shot seconds after Huber when he tried to disarm Kyle Rittenhouse based on his weapon. He was lucky enough to survive, having been shot in the arm.
Kyle Rittenhouse also faces charges such as POSSESSION OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON BY A PERSON UNDER 18, 2 charges of FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON, and FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH AN EMERGENCY ORDER FROM STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT. All these are punishable with separate sentences.
In response to the prosecution saying that Kyle Rittenhouse was “the only person to kill anyone” that night, the defendant’s lawyer said that his client acted in self-defense when “the people attacked him on the street, like an animal”. The trial Jury was selected within an unusually speedy process, in a single day. The hearings will continue, with witnesses being presented in the court. All we hope for is that justice will prevail in the end.