Thursday, December 2, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Protests: Why There Are Fears the Case Ruling Could Unrest

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Rittenhouse, 18, is accused of shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injuring Gaige Großkreutz, 28, during a protest against police brutality in Wisconsin

The murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse sees a second day of trial after the jury failed to reach a consensus.

Rittenhouse, 18, is accused of shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injuring Gaige Großkreutz, 28, with a semi-automatic rifle while protesting police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

He is faced with five charges: ruthless first-degree murder with the use of a dangerous weapon over the death of Rosenbaum; two inconsiderate first-degree endangerment from the use of a dangerous weapon on two men who witnessed the shootings; first degree deliberate homicide with dangerous weapon over the death of Huber; and attempted first degree willful homicide with the use of weapons through the shooting of Mr. Grosskreut.

The case depends on whether Mr Rittenhouse was the instigator of the violence or a self-defense citizen, with the jury being asked to consider four lesser charges in addition to the five main charges.

The jury of seven women and five men, who were presented with extensive evidence for consideration, could not come to an agreement after the first day of the trial, in which they sat for eight hours.

The trial heard evidence for eight days of Mr Rittenhouse pleading not guilty and insisting that he fired his weapon in self-defense after Mr Rosenbaum took the barrel of his gun.

Prosecutors argued he was a ruthless vigilante who provoked a series of acts of violence, first raising his rifle and then shooting his first victim, causing the other two men to respond to the attack.

The teen’s lawyers argue that he acted appropriately and in self-defense after Mr. Rosenbaum was seen throwing a plastic bag at him, allegedly threatening to kill him.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who has been criticized for his handling of the 2020 Kenosha protests, dispatched 500 National Guard members last week to stand by if necessary following the Rittenhouse ruling.

When the jury considered, he said, “I ask all who choose to assemble in any community and exercise their rights under the First Amendment to do so safely and peacefully.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has claimed the jury is reluctant to deliver a verdict because of fear of the crowds that gather outside the courthouse, many of whom are demanding justice for Rosenbaum and Huber.

Speaking to the audience, he said, “The average jury comes to a verdict in just a few hours, so it takes these jurors much longer than most, but that’s probably not because they are confused by the evidence they’ve heard.

“If [Rittenhouse] Once acquitted, pretty much everyone expects the usual mob of Joe Biden voters to burn, loot, and destroy.

Mr Rittenhouse’s trial vaguely resembles the trial of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted after he shot and killed the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2013.

His case undoubtedly brings back memories of one of the most closely watched cases involving a civilian’s right to self-defense, and proves to be equally divisive.

The incident came at the height of tension between the public and police, particularly the Black Community and the Black Lives Matter Movement, which had gained momentum since a police officer died of George Floyd.

Indeed, Mr Rittenhouse’s victims were one of hundreds on the streets of Kenosha protesting the shooting of 29-year-old black Jacob Blake.

The officers involved in the incident – including one who shot Blake seven times – were never charged by Kenosha County and returned to work this year.

The fate of Mr. Rittenhouse will no doubt be a controversial one and one of many that will lend itself to the exhausted debate on American gun culture.

Additional reporting by agencies

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