Sources: Kenosha County Circuit Court (Information):
Kenosha, Wisconsin: A jury has found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty in Kenosha shootings.
The jury’s decision occurred on Friday, November 19th, 2021 finding the 18 year old man not guilty of all charges after pleading self-defense in the deadly shooting in Kenosha that became a flashpoint in the nation’s debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice.
Kyle Rittenhouse had been charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering after killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests in Kenosha over police violence against Black people in the summer of 2020.
Following hearing the not guilty verdict from the jury, Kyle Rittenhouse appeared to sob and then fall down onto the table before hugging one of his attorneys.
Before the not guilty verdict, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers pleaded for calm and said 500 National Guard members would be ready for duty in Kenosha if needed.
There are some demonstrators outside the courthouse; some demonstrators are upset over the verdict and are calling the verdict a setback for justice, well some demonstrators supporting the jury’s verdict, supporting Rittenhouse and called the decision as win for self-defense and the Second Amendment.
At this moment, well there is police present in case of any unrest, both sides of the demonstrations outside the courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin have remain peaceful, but a woman outside the courthouse reportedly had a medical situation before 11:33 a.m. PST. Demonstrators went to help the woman and paramedics arrived to transport by ambulance the woman.
As of 12:50 p.m. PST, the demonstrators outside the courthouse have thin out, not a lot of people present, and all remains peaceful.
- What did Kyle Rittenhouse do to be on trial?
Kyle Rittenhouse testified that he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot two protesters and wounded a third during an August 2020 night of unrest in Kenosha following the police shooting of 29 year old Jacob Blake, a Black man.
Kyle Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shootings, was charged with intentional homicide and other counts for killing 36 year old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26 year old Anthony Huber, and wounding 27 year old Gaige Grosskreutz.
Wisconsin law allows the prosecution and defense to ask that jurors be told they can consider lesser charges as part of the instructions they receive before deliberating.
Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder ruled on those lesser charges on Nov. 13.
- What were the list of charges that the jurors was allowed to consider?
The following is a list of charges that the jurors was allowed to consider in the Kyle Rittenhouse court trial.
- First-degree reckless homicide Pertains to death of Joseph Rosenbaum Max. sentence 60 years (40 years confinement)
- Pertains to death of Joseph Rosenbaum
- Max. sentence 60 years (40 years confinement)
- First-degree recklessly endangering safety Pertains to Richie McGinnis Max. sentence 12 ½ years (7 ½ years confinement)
- Pertains to Richie McGinnis
- Max. sentence 12 ½ years (7 ½ years confinement)
- First-degree recklessly endangering safety Pertains to unidentified man Max. sentence 12 ½ years (7 ½ years confinement)
- Pertains to unidentified man
- Max. sentence 12 ½ years (7 ½ years confinement)
- First-degree intentional homicide Pertains to death of Anthony Huber Mandatory life sentence Jurors also considered: Second-degree intentional homicide (max. 60 years, 40 years confinement) and first-degree reckless homicide (max. 60 years, 40 years confinement)
- Pertains to death of Anthony Huber
- Mandatory life sentence
- Jurors also considered: Second-degree intentional homicide (max. 60 years, 40 years confinement) and first-degree reckless homicide (max. 60 years, 40 years confinement)
- Attempted first-degree intentional homicide Pertains to shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz Max. sentence 60 years (40 years confinement) Jurors also considered: Attempted second-degree intentional homicide (max. 30 years, 20 years confinement) and first-degree recklessly endangering safety (max. 12 ½ years, 7 ½ years confinement)
- Pertains to shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz
- Max. sentence 60 years (40 years confinement)
- Jurors also considered: Attempted second-degree intentional homicide (max. 30 years, 20 years confinement) and first-degree recklessly endangering safety (max. 12 ½ years, 7 ½ years confinement)
- What was Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense?
Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyers put on about 2 1/2 days of testimony to the prosecution’s five, with the most riveting moment coming when the 18 year old told the jury that he was defending himself from attacks when he used his rifle to kill two men and wound a third on the streets of Kenosha in the summer of 2020.
- Why did Kyle Rittenhouse go to Kenosha?
Two days after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Kyle Rittenhouse said he went to downtown Kenosha and volunteered to clean graffiti off a high school.
Kyle Rittenhouse said he met the owners of a car dealership where vehicles had been burned, offered his “condolences,” and said he wanted to help.
Kyle Rittenhouse said the owners asked his friend to protect their business, and that he joined his friend and others that night. He took his semi-automatic rifle and first-aid supplies.
Kyle Rittenhouse said he gave his bulletproof vest — which he said was issued by the Grayslake Police Department — to a friend.
Kyle Rittenhouse said he felt he wouldn’t need it “because I’m going to be helping people.”
- What did Kyle Rittenhouse say about his encounters with Joseph Rosenbaum?
Kyle Rittenhouse testified that Joseph Rosenbaum threatened his life twice.
Kyle Rittenhouse said he had been putting out fires and asking people if they needed medical help when he saw Rosenbaum carrying a steel chain and wearing a mask, and Joseph Rosenbaum began screaming at him.
Kyle Rittenhouse testified saying, “He was just mad about something. He’s screaming, ‘If I catch any of you (expletives) alone I’m going to (expletive) kill you.”
When he encountered Joseph Rosenbaum again later, Kyle Rittenhouse said that Rosenbaum shouted, “I’m going to cut your (expletive) hearts out and kill you.”
Later, Kyle Rittenhouse was walking with a fire extinguisher after hearing protesters were burning cars at one of the lots his friends were trying to protect.
Kyle Rittenhouse said he saw a fire in a truck on one of the lots when Joshua Ziminski approached him with a gun.
Kyle Rittenhouse testified Joseph Rosenbaum came out from behind some cars and “ambushed” him.
Kyle Rittenhouse said he tried to run away but Joseph Rosenbaum chased him as Joshua Ziminski yelled “get him” and “kill him.”
Kyle Rittenhouse testified that Joseph Rosenbaum threw a bag at him that he mistook for the chain, and that he pointed his rifle at Joseph Rosenbaum, but Joseph Rosenbaum didn’t stop.
Kyle Rittenhouse said he heard a gunshot behind him and “I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun.”
Kyle Rittenhouse said he fired four times, went up to Joseph Rosenbaum to see if he could help him, then ran away because people were yelling “get his ass, get him, get him.”
Kyle Rittenhouse also said later that he feared that if he let Joseph Rosenbaum take his gun, “he would have used it and killed me with it and probably killed more people.”
- What happened as Kyle Rittenhouse ran?
Kyle Rittenhouse said Anthony Huber hit him in the neck with a skateboard and someone hit him in the back of the head with a rock, causing him to stumble.
Kyle Rittenhouse said that a man tried to kick him in the face after he went down, and he fired twice at that man but missed, and that he feared the man “would have stomped my face in.”
Kyle Rittenhouse said that Anthony Huber hit him in the neck again with the skateboard and grabbed his gun, and he said, “I can feel the strap coming off my body, I fire one shot.”
In the next instant, Gaige Grosskreutz ran up to him, and Kyle Rittenhouse lowered his rifle as Gaige Grosskreutz raised his hands in a “surrender” motion, but Gaige Grosskreutz was holding a pistol.
As Kyle Rittenhouse lowered his weapon, Gaige Grosskreutz pointed the pistol “directly at my head.”
Kyle Rittenhouse said that he fired once, and the shot hit Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm.
- What did Kyle Rittenhouse say about his state of mind?
The defendant’s state of mind is crucial in a self-defense case, and the defendant must show that Kyle Rittenhouse reasonably believed his life was in danger and the amount of force he used was appropriate to win an acquittal.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger pressed Kyle Rittenhouse about his intentions during cross-examination, asking him whether he meant to kill the three men.
Kyle Rittenhouse said, “I didn’t intend to kill them. I intended to stop the people who were attacking me.”
Defense Attorney Mark Richards also asked Kyle Rittenhouse at one point why he stopped running from Joseph Rosenbaum – relevant in a case where jurors may consider whether he did all he could to move away from danger.
Kyle Rittenhouse answered Defense Attorney Mark Richards saying, “There was no space for me to continue to run to.”
- How did the prosecution approach Kyle Rittenhouse’s case?
Prosecutors endeavored to show Kyle Rittenhouse’s feared for his life on the night of Tuesday, August 25th, 2020, weren’t justified.
State witness Dominick Black, a friend of Kyle Rittenhouse who similarly showed up with a weapon, told jurors that he bought the rifle for Kyle Rittenhouse months before the shootings because Kyle Rittenhouse wasn’t old enough to own one at the time.
Dominick Black testified that a gun sling Kyle Rittenhouse wore around his neck and shoulder area included a strap that anchored the gun to Kyle Rittenhouse’s body.
Dominick Black said that strap would have made it difficult for anyone to pry the gun away – undermining the defense claim that Kyle Rittenhouse feared losing control of his weapon.
Gaige Grosskreutz testified that he carried a loaded pistol that night and acknowledged that it was aimed at Kyle Rittenhouse when Kyle Rittenhouse shot him – although Gaige Grosskreutz maintained he didn’t intentionally aim the gun and said he wouldn’t have fired.
Some legal experts believe some of the prosecution witnesses did not help their case.
Ryan Balch is a military veteran who carried an AR-style rifle that night and patrolled with Kyle Rittenhouse.
Ryan Balch told jurors how Joseph Rosenbaum made ominous threats within earshot of Kyle Rittenhouse.
“If I catch any of you guys alone tonight I’m going to f—- kill you!” Ryan Balch recalled Joseph Rosenbaum shouting.
Another witness, videographer Richie McGinniss, described Joseph Rosenbaum chasing Kyle Rittenhouse and lunging for Kyle Rittenhouse’s gun.
When prosecutor Thomas Binger pressed Richie McGinniss to concede he didn’t know what Joseph Rosenbaum’s intent was, Richie McGinniss had a pointed — and damaging — answer.
Richie McGinniss promptly replied, “Well, he said, `F*** you.′ And then he reached for the weapon.”
- What occurred during Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial?
While the Kyle Rittenhouse testimony was the most compelling of this trial, some of what was said in court while the jury was out captured just as much attention.
Kyle Rittenhouse’s testimony was interrupted by an angry exchange in which his lawyers demanded a mistrial over what they argued were out-of-bounds questions asked of him by the chief prosecutor.
The judge, though plainly mad at the prosecutor, did not immediately rule on the request.
The next day in court, attorneys sparred over the technology used to zoom in on video and create enlarged images, with prosecutors alleging the defense was taking advantage of the 75 year old judge’s admitted lack of understanding about current technology.
Judge Schroeder told the attorneys without the jury present, “I will tell you that I totally agree with your comment about my lack of familiarity with these concepts. This is a difficult concept for me, yes.”
In both cases, prosecutors were arguing for enlarging key images.
Much of the action that night was captured on sometimes hard-to-decipher cellphone video, as well as by a drone.
In the end, the judge said he was leaving it up to the jury to decide how much weight to give the image.
- Who were the jurors?
The jury for this case was selected in a single day on Monday, November 1st, 2021, starting with a pool of more than 150 potential jurors.
In the end, 20 people – 12 jurors and eight alternates – were selected.
The judge said he would decide at the end of the trial which ones are alternates and which ones will deliberate.
The 20 consisted of 11 women and nine men.
Later in the court trial, one male juror was dismissed after telling a joke to a deputy about Jacob Blake, and a second juror, a woman, was dismissed for medical reasons.
- What happens next for the Kyle Rittenhouse case?
Kyle Rittenhouse faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against him.
- Reaction following the jury’s verdict of Kyle Rittenhouse?
Anthony Huber’s mother Karen Bloom and his father John Huber released a statement after the verdict.
The statement from the family of Anthony Huber said, “We are heartbroken and angry that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in his criminal trial for the murder of our son Anthony Huber. There was no justice today for Anthony, or for Mr. Rittenhouse’s other victims, Joseph Rosenbaum and Gaige Grosskreutz. We did not attend the trial because we could not bear to sit in a courtroom and repeatedly watch videos of our son’s murder, and because we have been subjected to many hurtful and nasty comments in the past year. But we watched the trial closely, hoping it would bring us closure. That did not happen. Today’s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street. We hope that decent people will join us in forcefully rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system. Make no mistake: our fight to hold those responsible for Anthony’s death accountable continues in full force. Neither Mr. Rittenhouse nor the Kenosha police who authorized his bloody rampage will escape justice. Anthony will have his day in court. No reasonable person viewing all of the evidence could conclude that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. In response to racist and violent calls to action from militia members, Mr. Rittenhouse travelled to Kenosha illegally armed with an assault rifle. He menaced fellow citizens in the street. Though he was in open violation of a curfew order, Kenosha police encouraged him to act violently. Kenosha police told militia members that they would push peaceful protestors toward the militia so that the militia could “deal with them.” Soon after, Mr. Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum. The police did nothing. Concerned citizens, confronted with a person shooting indiscriminately on the street, stepped in to stop the violence. Anthony was shot in the chest trying to disarm Mr. Rittenhouse and stop his shooting spree. Still, the police did nothing. Mr. Rittenhouse continued to shoot, maiming Gaige Grosskreutz. The police let Mr. Rittenhouse leave the scene freely. Mr. Rittenhouse came to Kenosha armed to kill. Kenosha police encouraged him to act violently, and our son is dead as a result. We are so proud of Anthony, and we love him so much. He is a hero who sacrificed his own life to protect other innocent civilians. We ask that you remember Anthony and keep him in your prayers.”
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers released a statement saying, “No verdict will be able to bring back the lives of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, or heal Gaige Grosskreutz’s injuries, just as no verdict can heal the wounds or trauma experienced by Jacob Blake and his family. No ruling today changes our reality in Wisconsin that we have work to do toward equity, accountability, and justice that communities across our state are demanding and deserve. Kenoshans are strong, resilient, and have spent the last year working every day together toward healing. This case and the resulting national spotlight on the Kenosha community and our state have undoubtedly reopened wounds that have not yet fully healed. I echo the calls of local Kenosha community leaders and join them in asking everyone who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights in any community to please only do so safely and peacefully. We must have peace in Kenosha and our communities, and any efforts or actions aimed at sowing division are unwelcome in our state as they will only hinder that healing. I’ve seen the pain and the frustration of so many, and we must remain steadfast in our commitment to ending violence in our communities, supporting victims and survivors as they heal from trauma, and rooting out the disparities that are so often inextricably linked to that violence and trauma. We must be unwavering in our promise to build a state where every kid, person, and family can live their life free of violence and have every chance to be successful. We must move forward, together, more united and more motivated to build the sort of future we want for our state—one that is just, one that is equitable, and one where every person has the resources and opportunity to thrive—and I will not stop working to achieve that vision.”
Lieutenant Wisconsin Governor Mandela Barnes said in a posted statement via Twitter, “Over the last few weeks, many dreaded the outcome we just witnessed. The presumption of innocence until proven guilty is what we should expect from our judicial system, but that standard is not always applied equally. We have seen so many black and brown youth killed, only to be put on trial posthumously, while the innocence of Kyle Rittenhouse was virtually demanded by the judge.
This is another example of the difficult road to justice in America, and while we can easily view this as a setback, we have to turn this into a moment to push even harder by staying engaged, by organizing for justice, by holding our leaders accountable, and by registering our friends and neighbors to vote. As elected leaders, myself and others have a special responsibility to lift up the voices of organizers, activists, and everyday people working for change. We must transform moments like this by raising our voices, together. Across Wisconsin and across the country, countless people are coming together in this moment to honor Jacob, Anthony, JoJo, and call for justice. Here is what gives me hope: We have seen communities — especially Kenosha — step up to demand action from those in power and work to bring about positive change. We have the power to elect leaders at every level who represent our highest aspirations, who will fight alongside us for reform and progress. We all have the power to heal Kenosha and our nation.”
Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson said in a posted statement via Twitter, “The verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse was disappointing, but sadly not unexpected. Even if Mr. Rittenhouse was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to the fullest extent of the law, it would not undo the damage done to Kenosha or our nation. Nothing can bring back the two people he killed. The deep divisions in our country highlighted by those who saw Mr. Rittenhouse as a hero vs. those who saw him as a monster cannot be healed overnight, but heal we must. It is my sincere belief that in justice, we will find peace. Justice was not served today and it’s on all of us to try and change the system so that this horrible situation isn’t allowed to repeat itself. Let us not forget why the teenager from Illinois was in Kenosha in the first place. Peaceful protests in the wake of the reckless and unnecessary shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by Kenosha police had in some corners turned violent. Right-wing profiteers used this violence to stoke fear and reinforce racial stereotypes among white Americans, causing then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse to show up in Kenosha, heavily armed and, in his own mind at least, doing the work that law enforcement was either unwilling or unable to do. Hours later two people were dead, another wounded, and the kid who appeared to surrender to authorities shortly after the shootings was on his way back home to Illinois. A year later, Rittenhouse, now an adult in the eyes of the law, is going home again – this time after being exonerated in court of any wrongdoing for the very killings he himself admitted he had performed. Where do we go from here, and how can we finally achieve the goals we all profess to hold dear – those of justice and peace? In my view, it is only in true justice that we can ever hope to find true peace. But what is true justice? Justice is all people, regardless of race, creed, sexuality, gender identity or national origin having equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Justice is a public health approach to violence prevention, with unarmed first responders handling the vast majority of our communities’ calls for service. Justice is nobody being so afraid of their neighbors that they feel they need to carry a deadly weapon in public. Justice is not leaving certain neighborhoods to crumble while others teem with investment. Justice is fully funded public schools where kids of all backgrounds and needs can thrive. Justice is making sure that when people put others in danger, whether they are a police officer or civilian, they are held to account and made to seek restitution for their crimes. If we achieve these things, if we truly achieve justice in our nation, unity and a lasting peace will not be far behind. I hope that sooner rather than later, we can finally live up to the American ideals we have strived toward for 245 years.”
Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said, “Today’s verdict in Kenosha shows that the arc toward justice is still bending. How in good conscience can an individual cross state lines, to protect property that he wasn’t asked to protect, with a weapon that he shouldn’t even have had, shoot three people – two of them fatally – and suffer no consequences for those actions? Is this the Wisconsin we’ve built? I suggest that as a state, we should reimagine who we are and think about how our justice system works for everyone. Kenosha’s heart has ached for too long. I’m praying for healing and peace there, across Wisconsin, and across our great country.”
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said, “We respect the jury verdict based on three and a half days of careful deliberations. Certainly, issues regarding the privilege of self-defense remain highly contentious in our current times. We ask that all members of the public accept the verdicts peacefully and not resort to violence.”
United States President Joe Biden said, “I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works, and we have to abide by it.”
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki is inviting people to join him in praying for and promoting peace following the Kyle Rittenhouse trial verdict in Kenosha.
In a posted statement, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki said, “During times like these with severe division among people and the potential for social unrest, it is important for us to remember Jesus’ commandment to Love One Another. As Americans, we rely upon the rule of law and our justice system, which ensures the rights of all our citizens. We need to remember that every individual is made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore we need to follow the two great commandments — love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. By doing this, we recognize the human dignity in every person and treat each other with respect and love.”
More information continues to develop and come in.