With the jury quietly tucked away deliberating Kyle Rittenhouse’s fate, decorum outside the Wisconsin courthouse dissolved into angry protests on Tuesday with the arrival of BLM activists and Second Amendment enthusiasts.
The jury has now begun deliberating whether or not to convict the teenage gunman, whose case has divided the nation. Rittenhouse, now 18, was 17 when he shot dead two white BLM protesters at a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August, and injured a third.
His lawyers say he was a scared boy acting in self-defense, eager to protect the town as it fell under siege from an angry mob. Prosecutors tried to paint him as a bloodthirsty vigilante and an embodiment of the systemic racism his victims were protesting against.
The jury began discussions this morning, after a dramatic two-week trial and as their hushed deliberations began away from public view, protesters descended on the courthouse.
One an armed security guard wearing riot gear was among those outside. The guard told DailyMail.com he had been hired by a TV station to provide security for journalists who had been threatened recently.
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Protesters argue outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wis., during the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year
A supporter of Kyle Rittenhouse (L) argues with a Black Lives Matter supporter in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse while the jury deliberates the Rittenhouse trial on November 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Supporters of Kyle Rittenhouse stand in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse while the jury deliberates the Rittenhouse trial on November 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin
One an armed security guard wearing riot gear was among those outside. The guard told DailyMail.com he had been hired by a TV station to provide security for journalists who had been threatened recently
Supporters of Kyle Rittenhouse stand in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse while the jury deliberates the Rittenhouse trial on November 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Kyle Rittenhouse pulls numbers of jurors out of a tumbler during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021
On the steps of the courthouse, protesters chanted in each other’s faces in front of Jacob Blake’s uncle. It was Blake’s death by cop that was the reason for the protest on August 20 that attracted Rittenhouse to Kenosha.
The sheriff’s department issues this statement on Tuesday acknowledging the ‘anxiety’ surrounding the trial
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the Missouri couple who thwarted BLM protesters away from their property last year by toting their own guns, were there again to show Rittenhouse their support.
The sheriff’s department and police department issued a statement to try to quell the town’s anxiety, saying there were no plans yet for road closures, curfews or any other kind of restriction, but that safety remained the priority.
500 National Guardsmen remain on stand-by near Kenosha, ready to step in if the situation escalates.
‘The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Kenosha Police Department understand and recognize the anxiety surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
‘There are many questions being asked from our community as well as media outlets.
Our departments have worked together and made coordinated efforts over the last year to improve response capabilities to large scale events.
Demonstrators with opposing views gather outside of the Kenosha County Courthouse as the jury deliberates in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse on November 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Protesters hold signs outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wis., during the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year
A Black Lives Matter supporter (L) argues with a supporter of Kyle Rittenhouse in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse while the jury deliberates the Rittenhouse trial on November 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Emily Cahill hold signs outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wis., during the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year
Protesters argue each other outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wis., during the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year
BLM protesters, media members and Kyle Rittenhouse supporters gather outside the Kenosha County Courthouse on closing arguments in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States on November 16, 2021
Mark and Patricia McCloskey were among those supporting Rittenhouse. Jacob Blake’s uncle Justin was among those supporting BLM on Tuesday
Businesses in the Uptown area damaged during unrest remain boarded up over a year later as the jury deliberates in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse take place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA, 16 November 2021
Businesses in the Uptown area damaged during unrest remain boarded up over a year later as the jury deliberates in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse take place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA, 16 November 2021. Rittenhouse is being tried for the fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaun and Anthony Huber, and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz on 25 August 2020 during civil unrest in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake
‘We have also strengthened our existing relationships with State and Federal resources. At this time, we have no reason to facilitate road closures, enact curfews or ask our communities to modify their daily routines.
‘Lastly and most importantly, we have and will continue to be engaged with our community leaders.’
Judge Bruce Schroeder yesterday ruled that it was legal for Rittenhouse to carry the weapon. He threw out the charge, saying the wording of the law is ambiguous and confusing for even the most seasoned professionals like him, let alone for ordinary citizens
The jury has been asked to consider five charges; two counts of murder, one of attempted murder and two counts of recklessly endangering public safety.
On Monday, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a charge of possession of a firearm under 18, citing a loophole that Rittenhouse’s legal team successfully argued that says the law makes it legal for people under 18 to carry long-barreled guns.
It was a technicality that stunned the prosecution, which thought the gun charge was their only slam dunk.
Rittenhouse’s legal team says he was acting in self-defense and that he was responding to a gunshot he heard behind him when he pulled the trigger.
His mother Wendy has stated publicly that she believes he would be dead if he hadn’t pulled his own trigger, and that he was being chased by ‘a mob’.
Rittenhouse sobbed on the witness stand and said he was traumatized by the day’s events.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki weighed in on the case on Monday night, condemning Rittenhouse as a ‘vigilante’.
Six of the 18 jurors who have heard the case were selected as alternates Tuesday morning and must remain in the courthouse while the remaining 12 deliberate in case they should be re-called
Defense attorney Mark Richards began closing statements Monday afternoon claiming Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger ‘lied to the jury’s faces’
She also refused to explain on Monday why Joe Biden called Kyle Rittenhouse a ‘white supremacist’ immediately after the 17-year-old shot three white people during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to discuss on Monday Joe Biden calling Kyle Rittenhouse a ‘white supremacist’ last year
‘What I’m not going to speak to right now is anything about an ongoing trial nor the president’s past comments,’ she said, even though the president commented on the situation before it was litigated.
But Psaki then made her feelings clear, saying, ‘What I can reiterate for you is the president’s view that we shouldn’t have, broadly speaking, vigilantes patrolling our communities with assault weapons.
‘We shouldn’t have opportunists corrupting peaceful protests by rioting and burning down the communities they claim to represent – anywhere in the country.
Two months before Biden was elected president, he criticized then-President Trump for refusing to condemn people who are against the Black Lives Matter riots as ‘white supremacists.’
The tweet from the then-candidate included an image of Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shooting.
‘There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night,’ Biden tweeted in September 2020.
Psaki told Fox News’ Peter Doocy when talking about the case Monday: ‘As you know, closing arguments in this particular case, which I’m not speaking to, I’m just making broad comments about his own view – there’s an ongoing trial, we’re awaiting a verdict, beyond that, I’m not going to speak to any individual or this case.’
‘But the president has spoken to it already,’ Doocy shot back.
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum (left), 36, with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle after Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse across a parking lot and threw a plastic bag at him shortly before midnight on August 25, 2020. Moments later, as Rittenhouse was running down a street, he shot and killed Anthony Huber (right), 26, a protester from Silver Lake, Wisconsin
‘I just have nothing more to speak to an ongoing case,’ Biden’s top spokesperson said.
Republican Rep. Dan Bishop said Tuesday of Biden’s comments, ‘President Biden should be held accountable for wrongfully labeling a 17-year-old kid a ‘white supremacist.’ The facts of this case simply never mattered to Biden, this White House, or Congressional Democrats. They want to condemn someone who acted in self-defense against rioters, but seemingly have no problem with the very riots they cheered on last year.’
Addressing the remaining 12 jury members, Judge Bruce Schroeder said Tuesday, ‘It is for you to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
‘You must make a finding on each count [and your] verdict on one count must not affect your finding on any other count’.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said in closing arguments yesterday that when the shooting stopped, Rittenhouse walked off like a ‘hero in a Western.’
But Rittenhouse’s lawyer countered that the shooting started after the young man was ambushed by a ‘crazy person’ that night and feared his gun was going to be wrested away and used to kill him.
The governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, has called up 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard, to counter expected protest.
‘We continue to be in close contact with our partners at the local level to ensure the state provides support and resources to help keep the Kenosha community and greater area safe,’ Evers stated.
‘The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing,’ Evers said.
‘I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully.’
Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department said they are monitoring the trial and are working with local and federal authorities to ensure the ‘safety of our communities.’
What charges does Kyle Rittenhouse face?
Kyle Rittenhouse shot three men, killing two of them and wounding the third, during a protest against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. Rittenhouse has argued that he fired in self-defense after the men attacked him.
Here’s a look at the charges that prosecutors carried into court, as well as lesser charges that the judge could put before the jury in final instructions:
COUNT 1: FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESS HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This felony charge is connected to the death of Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man Rittenhouse shot. Bystander video shows Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse through a parking lot and throwing a plastic bag at him. Rittenhouse flees behind a car and Rosenbaum follows. Video introduced at trial showed Rittenhouse wheeling around and firing as Rosenbaum chased him. Richie McGinniss, a reporter who was trailing Rittenhouse, testified that Rosenbaum lunged for Rittenhouse’s gun.
Reckless homicide differs from intentional homicide in that prosecutors aren’t alleging Rittenhouse intended to murder Rosenbaum. Instead, they’re alleging Rittenhouse caused Rosenbaum’s death in circumstances showing an utter disregard for human life.
Former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher said prosecutors’ decision to charge reckless instead of intentional homicide shows they don’t know what happened between Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum and what might have been going through Rittenhouse’s mind when he pulled the trigger.
The charge is punishable by up to 60 years in prison. The dangerous weapon modifier carries an additional five years.
Prosecutors asked Judge Bruce Schroeder to let the jury also consider a lesser charge, second-degree reckless homicide, that does not require a finding that Rittenhouse acted with utter disregard for human life. It’s punishable by up to 25 years in prison. But after Rittenhouse’s attorneys objected, Schroeder said he did not plan to give that instruction. He said he expected that a guilty verdict on that count would be overturned because the defense objected to adding it.
COUNT 2: FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This felony charge is connected to the Rosenbaum shooting. McGinniss told investigators he was in the line of fire when Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum. The charge is punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier carries an additional five years.
Prosecutors asked Schroeder to let the jury consider a second-degree version of this charge. The difference is that the second-degree version doesn’t require a finding that Rittenhouse acted with utter disregard for human life. Schroeder said he was inclined to allow that instruction, though he didn’t make a final ruling. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
COUNT 3: FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
Video shows an unknown man leaping at Rittenhouse and trying to kick him seconds before Anthony Huber moves his skateboard toward him. Rittenhouse appears to fire two rounds at the man but apparently misses as the man runs away.
This charge is a felony punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier again would add up to five more years.
Schroeder said he would decline prosecutors’ request that jurors be allowed to consider this charge in the second degree.
COUNT 4: FIRST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This charge is connected to Huber’s death. Video shows Rittenhouse running down the street after shooting Rosenbaum when he falls to the street. Huber leaps at him and swings a skateboard at his head and neck and tries to grab Rittenhouse’s gun before Rittenhouse fires. The criminal complaint alleges Rittenhouse aimed the weapon at Huber.
Intentional homicide means just that – a person killed someone and meant to do it. Bucher said that if Rittenhouse pointed the gun at Huber and pulled the trigger that would amount to intentional homicide. However, self-defense would trump the charge.
‘Why I intended to kill this individual makes the difference,’ Bucher said.
The count carries a mandatory life sentence. The weapons modifier would add up to five years.
Prosecutors asked Schroeder to give the jury the option of second-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and second-degree reckless homicide in Huber’s death. The defense objected only to the second-degree reckless homicide charge, and Schroeder said he ’embraced’ that argument.
Second-degree intentional homicide is a fallback charge when a defendant believed he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that it was necessary to use force – but either belief was unreasonable. It’s punishable by up to 60 years in prison.
The first-degree reckless homicide charge sought in Huber’s death matches an original charge in Rosenbaum’s death – it would require jurors to decide that Rittenhouse caused Huber’s death with an utter disregard for human life – and is punishable by up to 60 years in prison.
COUNT 5: ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This is the charge for Rittenhouse shooting Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm seconds after he shot Huber, and as Grosskreutz came toward him holding a pistol. Grosskreutz survived. Video shows Rittenhouse pointing his gun at Grosskreutz and firing a single round.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 60 years. The weapons modifier would add up to five more years.
Prosecutors asked that the jury be allowed to consider lesser counts in the Grosskreutz shooting: second-degree attempted intentional homicide, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree reckless endangerment. Defense attorneys didn’t oppose the first, but did oppose adding the reckless endangerment counts. Schroeder didn’t rule but said he was inclined to side with prosecutors.
The possible punishment for attempted second-degree intentional homicide is 30 years.
DISMISSED – COUNT 6: POSSESSION OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON BY A PERSON UNDER 18
Rittenhouse was armed with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle. He was 17 years old on the night of the shootings. Wisconsin law prohibits minors from possessing firearms except for hunting. It was not clear on Friday what Schroeder intends to tell jurors about that charge.
The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months behind bars.
Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed count 6 from Rittenhouse’s rap sheet Monday morning.
COUNT 7: FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH AN EMERGENCY ORDER FROM STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Rittenhouse was charged with being out on the streets after an 8 p.m. curfew imposed by the city, a minor offense that carries a fine of up to $200. Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the charge during the second week of trial after the defense argued that prosecutors hadn’t offered enough evidence to prove it