The testimony of Kyle Rittenhouse has been dramatic to the tears, turning the sob into an inability to continue recounting what happened on the night of August 25, 2020. That time the young man, who was then 17 years old, killed two people and injured another during an anti-racist protest in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse has testified this Wednesday in his defense in a day full of tension, with the prosecutor Thomas Binger exerting a harsh interrogation on the young man, Judge Bruce Schroeder reprimanding him for it and the defense requesting that the trial be declared void. The teenager faces six crimes, including one of reckless murder in the first degree, another of intentional murder in the first degree and another one of attempted murder in the first degree.
Rittenhouse taking the stand was not without risk, which is why Judge Schroeder asked him a series of questions and reminded him of his constitutional right not to incriminate himself. The young man said he understood and assumed the danger of being questioned.
Rittenhouse collapsed just as he began to recount that fateful day in August, which killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 27. In his exoneration , Rittenhouse alleged that the man he shot intended to kill him, so he acted in self-defense. “I did not do anything wrong. I just defended myself, ”he testified. Until that moment, it seemed that the 18-year-old was going to remain calm during the long hours in which the prosecutor interrogated him. “I didn’t want to kill anyone, but they were attacking me.”
At the time when Rittenhouse moved uncontrollably as a result of crying, when he tried to breathe in order to continue with the story and could not, the judge decided to stop the session and opted for a break. Just before stopping for lunch, Schroeder repeatedly admonished the prosecutor, whom he accused of instigating the defendant.
According to a reconstruction of the events made through videos filmed during those days of riots, Rittenhouse confronted the protesters. One of them, Joseph Rosenbaum, threw an object at him. They struggled. Shots rang out and Rosenbaum was sprawled on the ground. Then Rittenhouse picked up the phone and, as seen in another video, made a call. “I just killed someone,” he says. A group of protesters went after the young man, who ran down the street, until he tripped and fell to the asphalt. From that position he opened fire again. Anthony Huber pounced on him, hit him with his skateboard and tried to snatch the rifle from him. But Rittenhouse managed to get away and shot him in the chest. Huber could barely take a few steps before he fell dead.
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Then Rittenhouse, sitting on the ground, points his rifle at another young man, Gaige Grosskreutz, who had also come after him, but who, seeing how Rittenhouse had killed Huber, took a few steps away and froze with his arms outstretched. high. Despite this, he shot him, wounding him in the right arm. The three men attacked by the minor were white.
Rittenhouse left the scene by walking backwards and pointing his rifle at the people who remained in the street.
The teenager’s lawyers base their defense on the fact that Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha that day, the third in riot after police seriously injured a young black man – a few months after George Floyd’s death – to help prevent them from being mugged. shops and perform first aid work. However, Rittenhouse arrived in town carrying an AR-15 assault rifle and wearing assault gear in the trunk of his car. No force of order prevented him from walking through the streets of Kenosha armed with the rifle without counting on the age allowed to have such weapons. “I always wear it,” he answered the prosecutor’s question as to whether it seemed normal to him to wear such clothing with him. The prosecution has given the jury a description of Rittenhouse equivalent to that of a vigilante.
Right-wing extremist circles consider Rittenhouse a benchmark and believe that the protests against police violence last year are the work of anti-fascists or anarchists. The left sees in the adolescent the excesses of the culture of guns and self-defense in the United States. The relationship of the young man with any of the militias that came to take justice into his hand that day is not proven, and which the police allowed to remain armed in the street despite the curfew.
“The plan was to provide first aid. It was out of nowhere, ”said Rittenhouse. “And why did he need such a weapon, then,” the prosecutor asked him. “In case I was attacked, I could defend myself,” insisted the young man. According to Rittenhouse, Rosenbaum twice threatened to kill him and insulted him. “If I find him alone I’m going to rip out his fucking heart,” Rittenhouse said Rosenbaum told him.
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