Following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white Kenosha police officer, protests erupted once more in several locations across the nation ever since. In Kenosha, peaceful protesters filled the streets demanding justice for Jacob Blake and action against systemic racism. On the third night of protests, the 17-year-old, Kyle Rittenhouse, killed two protesters and injured one with his gun.
The brief moment of chaos that night
The chaos began around 11:45PM after a Daily Caller reporter, Richard McGinnis, interviewed Rittenhouse, according to a complaint released by the Kenosha County Clerk of Courts. In the complaint, the complainant says there is video footage of Joseph Rosenbaum, who appears unarmed, chasing Rittenhouse and throwing a plastic bag at him. As Rosenbaum and Rittenhouse approach a car, a loud bang is heard and when Rosenbaum tries to get closer to Rittenhouse, four more loud bangs are heard. Rosenbaum fell to the ground and McGinnis tried administering first aid. McGinnis told investigators that Rosenbaum was trying to take the gun from Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse is then seen attempting to flee the scene as witnesses scream at officers to arrest him, trying to alert them that he had just shot someone. After an unidentified male attempts and fails to hit Rittenhouse, Rittenhouse is seen falling to the floor. Anthony Huber attempted to use that moment to disarm Rittenhouse. Huber held his skateboard in one hand and Rittenhouse’s gun in the other. The complaint says, “The defendant then fires one round which can be heard in the video. Huber staggers away, taking several steps, then collapses to the ground. Huber subsequently died from this gunshot wound.”
As Hubert falls, the armed medic, Gaige Grosskreutz, approaches Rittenhouse with his hands up. Rittenhouse then shoots Grosskreutz in the right arm. The suspect can then be seen in videos of the incident walking towards police vehicles responding to the complaint with his hands up. The police drive past him, and he then approaches another police car before walking away.
A different day of protests than the previous
According to several protesters present that night, the police allowed demonstrators to linger in Kenosha’s Civic Center Park on Sunday and Monday. However on Tuesday, hundreds more officers formed a wall to force protesters out and armored vehicles were also present. The protest on Tuesday also differed from the previous days of protests because protesters heard rumors that white men armed with guns mobilized on the behalf of the self-described militia group called the Kenosha Guard and would be waiting to shoot them. Some of the militia members who showed up had actually joined the protesters and promised to protect them but this did not calm the unease among protesters.
Some officers caught cooperating with militia
Prior to the shooting that night, a video shows a law enforcement officer providing water for a group of the armed white men. Among them was Kyle Rittenhouse. The officer is also heard showing gratitude to the men despite the men violating the city’s 8PM curfew which the police had been making such an effort to enforce at the park when they forced protesters out. In the video, the officer says, “We appreciate you guys.” “We really do.”
Another video shows one of the armed white men saying, “You know what the cops told us today? They were like, ‘We’re gonna push ‘em down by you, ‘cause you can deal with them and then we’re gonna leave.’” However, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said he did not deputize the citizens. Police Chief Daniel Muskinis did not respond to the Journal Sentinel’s question about whether he was cooperating with the Kenosha Guard.
Rittenhouse was interviewed by the Daily Caller in front of a boarded up building. He said, “People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business.” In the video, he says, “And my job is to protect people. If someone is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle; I’ve gotta protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit.”
The charges on Rittenhouse
Rittenhouse was able to return home but was arrested the next day in Antioch, Illinois. Rittenhouse lives in Antioch which is about 20 miles from Kenosha. It is still unclear why and how Rittenhouse decided to go to Kenosha that day. He has been charged as an adult for two counts of first degree homicide and one count of attempted homicide for the men he shot. He also faces charges of recklessly endangering the safety of two other victims, one of which was McGinnis when he attempted to administer first aid and was in Rittenhouse’s line of fire, and possessing a weapon while under the age of 18.
Rittenhouse’s attorney decried the charges arguing, “This boy was not only attacked on the streets of Kenosha, he’s been attacked in the media and social media all over the damn world.” The attorney said, “It’s wrong. He’s a 17-year-old boy. He was not there to create trouble, but he found himself with his life threatened and he had the right to protect himself with self-defense and now he finds accused of murder.”
Trump defends Rittenhouse
When the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, was asked by a reporter during a press briefing why President Trump liked a tweet saying Rittenhouse was a “good example” of why a Twitter user had decided to vote for Trump, McEnany said the President had told her “he just wanted to bring some attention to some of the details that aren’t as well known in that case. That the individual was being attacked and that one of the individuals who arrived on the scene did have a gun.” McEnany did add that the President condemns violence of all forms however.
Trump also defended Rittenhouse on Monday during a press briefing when he was asked whether he would condemn the Illinois teen’s actions. Trump noted that the incident was still under investigation and said, “He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like.” He added, “I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed.”