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Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted on all charges for shooting and killing 2 in Kenosha protests last year

  • November 25, 2021

Blake’s shooting came three months after the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, another Black man, ignited protests nationwide and demands for reform of police departments.

Those, in turn, led to a backlash among conservatives, including then-President Donald Trump, who condemned protestors.

At the trial, which began Nov. 1, Rittenhouse faced five felony charges: a single count each of first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, and a single count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

A sixth criminal count, possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under age 18, was dismissed by the trial judge on several grounds Monday before jurors got the case.

Kenosha business owners prepared for possible violence Monday, as closing arguments in the trial began. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers last week placed 500 members of the National Guard on standby in preparation for the verdict.

Rittenhouse has become a hero to some conservatives who say he was justified in killing Huber and Rosenbaum and injuring 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz in the shootings, which were captured on video and distributed across social media platforms.

Grosskreutz, a paramedic who had been treating protestors in Kenosha, was carrying a pistol in his hand as he advanced on Rittenhouse after hearing Rittenhouse had shot someone, he later testified.

“I thought that the defendant was an active shooter,” Grosskreutz testified.

Liberals, on the other hand, have condemned Rittenhouse as a reckless vigilante who has been embraced by racist groups such as the Proud Boys.

In recent weeks, those critics of Rittenhouse have been dismayed as Schroeder, the trial judge, castigated prosecutors at various points, and barred them from referring to the shot men as “victims” while allowing the defense lawyers to call them “rioters,” “arsonists” and “looters.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a political case,” Rittenhouse lawyer Mark Richards told jurors during closing arguments.

“The district attorney’s office is marching forward with this case because they need somebody to be responsible. They need somebody to … say, ‘We did it, he’s the person who brought terror to Kenosha,” Richards said.

“Kyle Rittenhouse is not that individual. The rioters, the demonstrators who turned into rioters. Those are the individuals.”

Rittenhouse testified at trial that he traveled from his home about 20 miles away to Kenosha with a semi-automatic rifle to protect businesses there during protests over Blake’s shooting.

Due to his age at the time, Rittenhouse was too young to have legally purchased the rifle, which a friend bought for him with Rittenhouse’s money, authorities have said.

“I brought the gun for my protection,” Rittenhouse testified. “I didn’t think I would have to use the gun and end up defending myself.” 

Rittenhouse claimed he was trying to protect his own life when he took the lives of Rosenbaum and Huber.

“I didn’t intend to kill them. I intended to stop the people who were attacking me,” Rittenhouse said. “I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me.”

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