KENOSHA, WI – As the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is set to begin, the judge presiding over the case has ruled that the men he shot during an August 2020 social upheaval in Kenosha, Wisconsin can potentially be referred to “rioters,” “looters,” or “arsonists,” but they should not be referred to by attorneys as “victims.”
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder, who has a longstanding view that prosecutors should not be allowed to refer to antagonists as “victims” at trial, reiterated that stance during a Monday pre-trial hearing.
“Let the evidence show what the evidence shows, that any or one of these people were engaged in arson, rioting or looting, then I’m not going to tell the defense they can’t call them that,” Schroeder said.
Rittenhouse is charged with felony homicide in the alleged shooting deaths of Anthony M. Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, and felony attempted homicide for allegedly wounding Gaige Grosskreutz during protests that took place in August 2020 following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
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In addition, as Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the shootings, he has also been charged with possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18, which is a misdemeanor.
Rittenhouse has entered a plea of not guilty to the changes against him, and his defense team maintains that he had acted in self-defense during the incident.
According to video and witness accounts, Rittenhouse had arrived in Kenosha on the day of the protests from a neighboring town with a group of armed men to assist in protecting a local car lot. Rittenhouse is seen in video footage wielding an AR-15-style rifle while wearing a green t-shirt and backwards baseball cap.
According to court records, after an altercation with protestors – many of whom were looting, burning, and vandalizing local businesses and government buildings – Rittenhouse is alleged to have shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, after he had thrown something at him.
Following the alleged shooting, Rittenhouse was captured on bystander video fleeing from a group of protestors who were chasing him; at one point, he trips, falls, and appears to be hit with a skateboard by Anthony Huber, 26, who Rittenhouse then shoots and kills, according to court records. Another protestor, Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, is then seen approaching Rittenhouse with a gun and is shot in the arm, the official complaint says.
Rittenhouse is then seen getting up and walking towards approaching police with his hands raised, but was ignored; the next morning, he turned himself in at his local police department.
Jury selection for Rittenhouse’s trial is scheduled to begin November 1.