Vertiv Introduces New Single-Phase Uninterruptible Power Supply for Distributed Information Technology (IT) Networks and Edge Computing Applications in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)Read more Students from JA Zimbabwe Win 2023 De La Vega Global Entrepreneurship AwardRead more Top International Prospects to Travel to Salt Lake City for Seventh Annual Basketball Without Borders Global CampRead more Rise of the Robots as Saudi Arabia Underscores Global Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Aspirations with DeepFest Debut at LEAP23Read more Somalia: ‘I sold the last three goats, they were likely to die’Read more Merck Foundation and African First Ladies marking World Cancer Day 2023 through 110 scholarships of Oncology Fellowships in 25 countriesRead more Supporting women leaders and aspirants to unleash their potentialRead more Fake medicines kill almost 500,000 sub-Saharan Africans a year: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reportRead more Climate crisis and migration: Greta Thunberg supports International Organization for Migration (IOM) over ‘life and death’ issueRead more United Nations (UN) Convenes Lake Chad Countries, Amid Growing Regional CrisisRead more

Jury set to begin deliberations in Wisconsin shooting trial

show caption
Prosecutor Thomas Binger holding Kyle Rittenhouse's gun during closing arguments in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Nov 16, 2021 - 09:41 AM

WASHINGTON — A jury is to begin deliberations Tuesday in the high-profile case of the American teenager who shot dead two men and wounded another during anti-police protests and riots last year in the Wisconsin city of Kenosha.

Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, who is charged with reckless homicide, testified during the two-week trial that he opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in self-defense.

Prosecutors dismissed the self-defense claim during closing arguments on Monday, saying it was Rittenhouse who had “provoked” the events on the night of August 25, 2020.

“You cannot hide behind self-defense if you provoked the incident,” Kenosha County assistant district attorney Thomas Binger said. “The defendant provoked everything.”

“No reasonable person would have done what the defendant did,” Binger told the jury. “And that makes your decision easy. He is guilty of all counts.”

The case has drawn national attention because it arose from the nationwide “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations last year.

Protests and rioting in Kenosha erupted after a white policeman shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, several times in his car during an arrest, leaving him paralyzed.

In right-wing and pro-gun circles, Rittenhouse, who claims he went to Kenosha to protect property from looters and act as a medic, has been painted as a heroic figure.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has put 500 members of the state National Guard on standby in the event of trouble following a verdict.

‘Nobody deputized him’ 

In his instructions to the jury after closing arguments, Judge Bruce Schroeder told the 12-member panel not to be swayed by “sympathy, passion, prejudice or political beliefs.”

“You will pay no heed to the opinions of anyone, even the president of the United States or the president before him,” Schroeder said in a reference to Joe Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump.

Testifying in court last week, Rittenhouse said he “didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I defended myself,” he said. “I did not intend to kill them. I intended to stop the people who were attacking me.”

But Binger, the prosecutor, said “none of these people (shot by Rittenhouse) posed an imminent threat to the defendant’s life.”

Rittenhouse, who lived in the neighboring state of Illinois, had come to Kenosha as a self-appointed “junior policeman” and “made a series of reckless decisions,” Binger said.

“Nobody asked him to do that,” he added. “Nobody gave him the right. Nobody deputized him.”

‘No winners in this case’ 

Defense attorney Mark Richards said the then 17-year-old Rittenhouse had come to Kenosha that night because he was “trying to help.”

“He worked in Kenosha. His Dad lived in Kenosha. His grandmother lived in Kenosha,” Richards said.

“My client didn’t shoot at anyone until he was chased and cornered,” he said. “Every person who was shot was attacking Kyle — one with a skateboard, one with his hands, one with his feet, one with a gun.”

“There are no winners in this case,” the defense attorney added. “But putting Kyle Rittenhouse down for something he was privileged to do would serve no legitimate purpose.”

James Kraus, another prosecutor, accused the defense team of trying to make the jury believe “that these people got what was coming to them.”

“If people did bad things that night they could have been prosecuted,” he said. “It’s not up to Mr. Rittenhouse to be the judge and the jury and eventually the executioner.

“He was not acting in legal justified self-defense.”

Rittenhouse is charged with five felony counts, including first-degree homicide and attempted homicide.

The judge on Monday dropped one charge: illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.