NATIONAL NEWS

Prosecutor says Rittenhouse instigated Kenosha bloodshed

Nov 2, 2021, 6:25 AM | Updated: 11:11 am
Kyle Rittenhouse looks back at the gallery in the courtroom as the room is let go for an afternoon ...
Kyle Rittenhouse looks back at the gallery in the courtroom as the room is let go for an afternoon break at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Nov. 1, 2021, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse shot three demonstrators, killing two of them, during a night of unrest that erupted in Kenosha after a police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back while police attempted to arrest him in August 2020. Rittenhouse, from Antioch, Illinois, was 17 at the time of the shooting and armed with an assault rifle. He faces counts of felony homicide and felony attempted homicide. (Photo by Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images)

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Kyle Rittenhouse instigated the confrontation that led him to shoot three people on the streets of Kenosha during a turbulent protest against racial injustice, and he killed one of the victims with a shot to the back, a prosecutor told the jury during opening statements Tuesday at Rittenhouse’s murder trial.

Prosecutor Thomas Binger described what he said were “two of the roughest nights that our community has ever seen,” when Kenosha was rocked by rioting, arson and looting over the police wounding of a Black man.

“Like moths to a flame, tourists from outside our community were drawn to the chaos here in Kenosha,” he said.

Yet Binger repeatedly stressed that amid the hundreds of people in Kenosha and the anger and chaos in the streets, “the only person who killed anyone is the defendant, Kyle Rittenhouse.”

The shootings left two people dead and one person wounded.

Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old aspiring police officer when he traveled to Kenosha from his home in Illinois, just across the Wisconsin state line, in August 2020 after protests broke out over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer.

Rittenhouse said he went there to protect property after two previous nights in which rioters set fires and ransacked businesses.

The jury — selected with remarkable speed in just one day Monday, considering how politically polarizing the case has become — must decide whether Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, as his lawyers claim, or was engaged in vigilantism when he opened fire with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.

Rittenhouse, now 18, faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of the most serious count against him, first-degree intentional homicide, which is Wisconsin’s top murder charge.

Binger told the jury that self-defense can be a valid claim only if Rittenhouse reasonably believed that he was using deadly force to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.

The prosecutor said there was nothing wrong with Rittenhouse offering to protect Car Source, a used car dealership where the first shooting occurred. But he repeated that amid all the chaos, only one person killed anyone.

“When we consider the reasonableness of the defendant’s actions, I ask you to keep this in mind,” he said.

Binger said infrared camera from the FBI shows Rittenhouse chasing Joseph Rosenbaum, the first person who was shot. He said that it’s not known exactly what words were said, but it is clear that Rittenhouse started a confrontation that caused Rosenbaum to begin chasing Rittenhouse and throwing a plastic bag.

Binger emphasized, too, that Rosenbaum was killed by a shot to the back. The prosecutor noted that the first two bullets hit Rosenbaum in the lower extremities, causing him to fall forward. Then came the shot to the back.

Binger also said that after shooting Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse fled the scene instead of rendering aid, despite portraying himself as a medic earlier in the night. The others who were shot afterward “clearly believed” Rittenhouse was an active shooter when they tried to stop him, the prosecutor said.

Rittenhouse looked on in apparent calm in a dark pinstriped suit and tie. He occasionally fidgeted with a water bottle or glanced toward the jury box. His mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, sat behind him on a spectators’ bench.

About a dozen prospective jurors were dismissed Monday after they expressed strong opinions about the case or worried that they couldn’t be fair. Others worried about their personal safety. “No one wants to be sitting in this chair,” one woman said.

“I figure either way this goes you’re going to have half the country upset with you and they react poorly,” said another woman, a special education teacher who expressed anxiety about serving. She was chosen.

Twenty people in all were selected: 12 jurors and eight alternates. Eleven are women and nine are men. The court did not immediately provide a racial breakdown of the group, but it appeared to be overwhelmingly white.

Rittenhouse has been painted by supporters on the right — including foes of the Black Lives Matter movement — as a patriot who took a stand against lawlessness by demonstrators and exercised his Second Amendment gun rights. Others see him as a vigilante and police wannabe.

He is white, as were those he shot, but many activists see an undercurrent of race in the case, in part because the protesters were on the streets to decry police violence against Black people.

As jury selection got underway, Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder stressed repeatedly that jurors must decide the case solely on what they hear in the courtroom, and cautioned: “This is not a political trial.”

“It was mentioned by both political campaigns and the presidential campaign last year, in some instances very, very imprudently,” he said.

The judge said Rittenhouse’s constitutional right to a fair trial, not the Second Amendment right to bear arms, will come into play, and “I don’t want it to get sidetracked into other issues.”

One of the jurors is a gun-owning woman with a high school education who said she was so afraid during the protests that she pulled her cars to the back of her house and made sure her doors were locked. She said she went downtown in the aftermath and cried.

Another juror, a man, said he owns a gun and has it for “home defense.” Another is a pharmacist who said that she was robbed at gunpoint in 2012 but that it would have no effect on her ability to weigh the evidence in this case.

Rittenhouse fatally shot Rosenbaum, 36, after Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse across a parking lot and threw a plastic bag at him shortly before midnight on Aug. 25. Moments later, as Rittenhouse was running down a street, he shot and killed Anthony Huber, 26, a protester from Silver Lake, Wisconsin, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, a protester from West Allis, Wisconsin.

Bystander video captured Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse but not the actual shooting. Video showed Huber swinging a skateboard at Rittenhouse before he was shot. Grosskreutz had a gun in his hand as he stepped toward Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse faces two homicide counts and one of attempted homicide, along with charges of reckless endangering and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.

___

Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin, Forliti from Minneapolis. Associated Press writer Tammy Webber contributed from Fenton, Michigan.

___

Find AP’s full coverage on the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse at: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

tetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with the trophy...
Associated Press

SEC halftime contest booed, both students awarded $100,000

Two college students have won $100,000 in tuition after a confusing finish in the SEC championship game's halftime competition. Boos rained down from the fans in attendance for the game between No. 1 Georgia and No. 11 LSU when one of the two students appeared to win the Dr Pepper ball toss competition in overtime on a technicality. The winner was due to get $100,000 and the runner-up $20,000. Baylor student Reagan Whitaker and St. Augustine student Kayla Gibson exchanged leads multiple times in regulation. In overtime, they tied again, but Whitaker was declared the winner. It was announced on the broadcast in the fourth quarter of the game that Dr Pepper would gift both Whitaker and Gibson with $100,000 in tuition.
15 hours ago
A police car in Tampa, Florida....
Associated Press

Tampa police chief on leave after golf cart traffic stop

The police chief of Tampa has been placed on leave after a video emerged of her flashing her badge from the passenger seat of a golf cart to get out of a traffic ticket. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor placed Chief Mary O'Connor on administrative leave Friday pending an investigation of the Nov. 12 traffic stop. The body camera video shows O'Connor identifying herself as the Tampa police chief and asking the Pinellas County sheriff's deputy not to ticket her and her husband, who she says was driving the golf cart without a tag. O'Connor later released a statement saying the incident reflected "poor judgement."
15 hours ago
Rapper Kanye West attends the 2006 Cipriani / Deutsche Bank Concert Series where he will perform at...
Rob McLean, CNN Business

Kanye West’s Twitter account has been suspended, Elon Musk says it violated rule against incitement to violence

Kanye West's Twitter account was suspended early Friday morning after Elon Musk said it violated the platform's rules on inciting violence.
15 hours ago
The Twitter emblem is displayed on a smart phone outside the Twitter offices in Dublin on November ...
Ramishah Maruf, CNN

Elon Musk speaks out on ‘Twitter Files’ release detailing platform’s inner workings

(CNN) — Twitter owner Elon Musk spoke out on Saturday evening about the so-called “Twitter Files,” a long tweet thread posted by journalist Matt Taibbi, who had been provided with details about behind-the-scenes discussions on Twitter’s content moderation decision-making, including the call to suppress a 2020 New York Post story about Hunter Biden and his […]
15 hours ago
FILE: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon July 21,...
TARA COPP, Associated Press

Keep COVID military vaccine mandate, defense chief says

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is making clear he wants to keep the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place to protect the health of the troops.
2 days ago
(Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)...
Brian Fung, CNN

Released Twitter emails show how employees handled 2020 New York Post Hunter Biden story

Elon Musk teased Twitter users a few days ago with the promise of information on Twitter's content moderation policies, now known as the "Twitter Files."
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Prosecutor says Rittenhouse instigated Kenosha bloodshed