Jury selection in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse begins next Monday. In pre-trial motions, the presiding judge, Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder, has signaled that he is interested in allowing Rittenhouse to make his case and not turn it into the kind of judicial lynching that Minnesota meted out to Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
If you aren’t familiar with the case, this is a quick overview.
On August 23, 2020, Kenosha, WI, police answered a 911 call. The distraught female caller said that her ex-boyfriend, a career criminal named Jacob Blake, had violated a restraining order, entered her home, and taken her car keys. One of her children was in a car seat in that car. When police arrived, Blake resisted arrest. When he lunged for a knife on the car’s front seat, he was shot. Blake survived the shooting and probably will not violate another restraining order. The shooting was investigated and ruled justified.
The fact that a man assaulted his girlfriend, broke a restraining order, and attempted to steal a car and kidnap a child doesn’t mean he can’t be an American hero, right?
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 11, 2020
In response, Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters gave Kenosha several nights of rioting, looting, and general mayhem, because equity and respect for life.
On the second night of the festival, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse joined a group of armed citizens protecting private property in Kenosha. Rittenhouse lived in Illinois and worked as a lifeguard at a pool in Kenosha.
For a blow-by-blow analysis of the sequence of events, read In a Bizarre Turn of Events, NYT Investigation of Kenosha Shooting Makes a Strong Case for Self-Defense.
When the smoke cleared, a child molester and spouse abuser lay dead, and a professional protester who brandished a pistol at Rittenhouse was left to find a new date for Saturday night. (read The Men Shot in Kenosha Were Convicted Criminals Who Were Shot While Acting Like Criminals).
Rittenhouse, naturally, was arrested and charged with murder based on the fact that the people he killed were part of a politically popular riot.
Please read all of our coverage on the shootings.
Back to the story.
Jury selection is due to start next Monday and the judge in the case is trying to clear away some of the underbrush. One key decision was the judge squashing an attempt to portray anyone shot as a victim. On the other hand, the defense will be allowed to portray those shot by Rittenhouse as just what they were.
The three men Kyle Rittenhouse shot during a protest against police brutality in Wisconsin can be labeled rioters, looters or arsonists if the teenager’s defense team has evidence to support the characterizations — but they shouldn’t be called victims, the judge in his murder trial ruled this week.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger had asked the judge to prohibit the defense from describing the men who were shot with pejorative language.
On Monday, Schroeder reiterated his reportedly long-held policy against allowing the word “victim” in his criminal trials until there is a conviction. He said the word is “loaded” with prejudgment.
Binger, the prosecutor, argued that the words “rioters,” “looters” and “arsonists” are “loaded, if not more loaded,” than “victim.”
“You’ve not let me call someone a victim when it was proven,” he told Schroeder.
Binger said that whatever the three men were up to before they were shot had nothing to do with their confrontations with Rittenhouse and his decision to open fire. He argued that Rittenhouse had not seen the three do anything criminal when he shot them.
You really have to worry about the intelligence of the prosecutor if he makes a claim like this in front of a judge rather than Don Lemon’s CNN audience. The child molester assaulted him with a projectile, chased him, and attacked him. The domestic violence aficionado clubbed him with a skateboard and continued the attack even though Rittenhouse was knocked down. The man who was wounded approached Rittenhouse with a drawn firearm. All of those are criminal acts. All, in my view, got pretty much what they deserved. A great deal of investigation has been done, and the activities of the men, and I use that word advisedly, who were shot have been documented. It will be no trouble showing them at play in the streets of Kenosha.
We obviously don’t know how this will play out. Still, the initial ruling by the judge indicates he may be more interested in seeing justice done than offering another victim up as a sacrificial offering to the violent thugs. They burned America’s cities during the summer of 2020.