HomeCrimePolitical Theater Vs. Criminal Justice: The Case of Kyle Rittenhouse

Political Theater Vs. Criminal Justice: The Case of Kyle Rittenhouse

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Summer, 2020.  It was a time of great civil unrest across the United States.  Protests and riots were almost a daily occurrence, fueled by a growing call to radically transform and/or abolish all Police Departments from sea to shining sea, based upon the political assumption that Police Departments are “systemically racist” in their policies and dealings with persons of color.

Case in Point:  August 23, 2020, Kenosha, Washington:

On August 23, 2020, Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey shot and seriously injured suspect, Jacob Blake.  Blake had an active warrant for his arrest from July, based on charges of third-degree sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse.  Taken from multiple news sources, Blake fought with Officers, resisting arrest.  Even after Blake was tasered by the responding Officers, he still put up a fight.  It appeared that Blake reached into his girlfriend’s SUV to retrieve a knife, presumably to use as a weapon against the responding Officers, including Officer Sheskey.  Officer Sheskey opened fire on Blake, inflicting multiple gunshot wounds.  It should be noted that in January of 2021, Kenosha, WA Prosecutors announced that no charges would be brought against Officer Sheskey or the other responding Officers.

Unfortunately, like clockwork, Blake’s name was invoked in violent protests in Kenosha as well as other cities inspired and/or allegedly organized by the Black Lives Matter movement.  As was typical of these movements, they included rallies, marches, property damage, arson, and violent clashes with Police.

On August 25, 2020, amid the violence and unrest in Kenosha, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from neighboring Antioch, IL, shot and killed two men and wounded another man in the arm during confrontations with protesters/rioters in Kenosha. Although he was armed with a Smith & Wesson M & P15 rifle, he was also carrying a field med kit.  During later questioning, Rittenhouse had said he was there to provide medical aid to anyone who were wounded during the protests.  The press has widely reported that Rittenhouse brought the rifle to protect businesses from unrest.

While on the streets of Kenosha, Rittenhouse was pursued by a group of rioters/protesters, including a Kenosha, WI resident Joseph Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum reportedly  lunged at Rittenhouse and attempted to take his rifle. Rittenhouse then fired four times at Rosenbaum, who died shortly afterwards.

While fleeing more protesters/rioters that were chasing him down, Silver Lake, WI resident/protestor Anthony Huber struck Rittenhouse with a skateboard and fought with Rittenhouse to take his rifle. Rittenhouse then fired at Huber once, killing him. West Allis, WI resident/protestor Gaige Grosskreutz then approached Rittenhouse while holding a handgun, and Rittenhouse shot him once, severing his right bicep.

Rittenhouse was arrested and charged with multiple homicide, assault and unlawful possession of a firearm charges.  The mainstream media and left leaning politicians on all levels of government have been relentless in polarizing the shootings with a very myopic lens.  The trial began on November 1, 2021.

It started out with jury selection, where Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder strongly insisted on preventing politics from playing a role in Rittenhouse’s high-profile trial.  The trial was going to be based upon the evidence and testimony at hand.  That is how Courts work.  Judge Schroeder was true to his word when he had a Juror removed when he was overheard making an off color comment about Jacob Blake, the man shot by Officer Sheskey, which sparked the riots and protests in August of 2020.  This Judge appears strictly by the book.

The progression of the trial is not going the way the mainstream and political personages would like it to go.  In the first week alone, as reported by NPR.org

“Nearly three hours of testimony Thursday came from Richard McGinnis, a video producer with the right-wing news site The Daily Caller. McGinnis was in Kenosha that night covering the protests as a journalist… McGinnis testified, he saw Rittenhouse running toward a used car lot, holding both the rifle and a fire extinguisher being followed by Joseph Rosenbaum… Rosenbaum lunged for the rifle, McGinnis said, and Rittenhouse dodged. As Rosenbaum’s momentum was carrying him past Rittenhouse, Rittenhouse fired four times.”

When the prosecution, led by ADA Thomas Binger, suggested it was impossible for McGinnis to know what Rosenbaum was trying to do as he lunged, McGinnis replied, ‘Well, he said ‘f*** you’ and he reached for the weapon.’ “.

It appears that the Prosecution’s game plan of characterizing Rittenhouse as a reckless “vigilante”, namely, shooting Rosenbaum for no reason failed miserably. Video footage and photographs taken by on site media reporters and live stream social media users on the night in question have also been used extensively during the trial.  The footage has clearly shown that Rittenhouse did not murder Rosenbaum in cold blood.

In the second week of the trial, the Prosecution rested their case on very unstable ground.  During testimony taken from Gaige Grosskreutz, he admitted on the stand under oath that he pointed his Glock pistol at Rittenhouse before Rittenhouse fired on him, which is the exact definition of self defense.  The Defense also brought up Grosskreutz’s pending civil lawsuit against the city of Kenosha, in which he accuses Police of “enabling the violence by allowing an armed militia to wreak havoc in the streets”. As stated by Defense Counsel:

“If Mr. Rittenhouse is convicted, your chance of getting 10 million bucks is better, right?”

Mr. Grosskreutz’s testimony left ADA Binger’s head hanging low into his palms, as he rested their case without proving that the charges were justified.  Now the defense team had their chance to bring their evidence.

In what I thought was a risky move by the Defense, Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand to testify about what happened on August 25, 2020.  However, my opinion was proven dead wrong.  As reported in multiple media outlets, during cross examination by ADA Binger, Judge Schroeder lambasted the ADA for questioning Rittenhouse on “evidence” that the Judge ruled as inadmissible.  Judge Schroder reportedly stated,

“You knew very well that attorneys can’t go into these types of areas when the judge has already ruled without asking outside the presence of the jury to do so. So don’t give me that,”

When Binger attempted to push back, .Judge Schroeder also reportedly said loudly,

“Don’t get brazen with me!”

The inadmissible “evidence” in question was a photo taken of Rittenhouse that shows him posing in a bar with members of the Proud Boys, the Left’s favorite target for being a “white supremacist group”.

Against the ruling of the Court, ADA Binger said he intended to use the photo as evidence of Rittenhouse’s “disregard for human life,” explaining that he wanted to probe whether or not the emotions exhibited by Rittenhouse, who was in tears on the stand during direct testimony, were genuine.  The Judge stood by the rules of evidence, stating that the photo is not relevant to the circumstances of the criminal case.

In an earlier incident during cross examination on the same day, which in my layman opinion is far more egregious, the Defense rightfully objected to ADA Binger’s questions about Rittenhouse’s decision to remain silent about the shootings until taking the stand Wednesday.  This line of questioning is completely out of bounds based upon the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, regarding self incrimination.  I’m relatively sure that every person who enjoys TV Police Dramas are familiar with the Miranda Rights, starting with, “You have the right to remain silent”.  It appears that the prosecution was getting very desperate, in their attempt to politicize a criminal court proceeding and pursuing a line of questioning that violated standing Constitutional Law.  ADA Binger ended up severely compromising not just the prosecution’s case, but their credibility as well. 

As of now, the prosecution has been severely damaged.  Rittenhouse’s defense attorney Corey Chirafisi asked the Judge to declare a mistrial with prejudice, meaning that a retrial for the shootings would never be possible. The Defense charged that Binger’s line of questioning and attempting to introduce inadmissible evidence to the jury is the textbook definition of  prosecutorial overreach. Judge Schroeder did not immediately issue a ruling on the mistrial motion, however, the Judge made clear that he believed ADA Binger had deliberately defied his orders and that the DA’s Office was not acting in good faith.

The trial is set to conclude on Monday, November 15, 2021.  I am extremely anxious to see what the Jury decides.  Although I am of the opinion that Kyle Rittenhouse is not a cold blooded murderer, I’m not one to make a prediction of how this will turn out.  However, given the weak performance of the DA’s Office, to the point of deliberately disregarding the rule of Law to make a political case out of a criminal case, as well as the expertise of Defense Counsel, I am hopeful that either a mistrial with prejudice will be granted, or that Kyle Rittenhouse will be found not guilty.  This case should serve as a very stern warning.  Justice and rule of Law should never be manipulated by politics. 

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