Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of five gun-related felony charges on November 19th, in his trial over the shootings of three men that resulted in the deaths of two. The demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin during August of 2020 led to Mr. Rittenhouse’s actions as he testified were to protect himself at the time of the shooting. The jury deliberated for over three days before reaching a final verdict.
The Backstory of the Protests
The protests in Kenosha erupted after Jacob Blake, a black man, was shot and wounded by police officer Rusten Sheskey on August 23rd, 2020. The incident was caught on cellphone video and came only months after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis set off unrest and protests across the country due to police abuse towards Black Americans.
In the days following the shooting of Jacob Blake, Kenosha experienced widespread looting, arson, and property destruction. The shootings by Kyle Rittenhouse occurred on the third night of protests and he stated that they were committed in self-defense.
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During the early evening of Tuesday, August 25th, 2020, protests filled the Civic Center Park in Kenosha’s downtown, across from the heavily barricaded courthouse that was being defended by police officers and the National Guard.
The night was charged with tension. Men drove motorcycles through groups of protestors, others arrived wearing camo and carrying rifles with ammo strapped to their chests and said that they were part of a Kenosha militia—self-appointed to protect the city from unrest and damage.
After hours of demonstrations, protestors threw fireworks and water bottles at the police who then responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, driving them out of the Civic Center Park down Kenosha’s main thoroughfare, Sheridan Road.
The shootings occurred on the third night of protests and Rittenhouse testified that they were committed in self-defense.
Most protestors went home by late evening, but some remained on Sheridan Road protesting, starting fires, and arguing with those who were defending the city.
Video shows that Kyle Rittenhouse, who was armed with an AR-15-style rifle, was offering medical assistance to protestors that night, and shortly before midnight, the night spiraled out of control and he was chased by Joseph Rosenbaum, a protester in the crowd.
As Mr. Rittenhouse ran through a parking lot, a handgun was shot into the air nearby, and as he turned toward the gunfire, Mr. Rosenbaum lunged at him. Mr. Rittenhouse then fired four times, shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, killing him.
Mr. Rittenhouse ran down Sheridan Road with at least a dozen protestors in pursuit, and at one point, tripped and fell. Then during a scuffle, he shot two more people who were chasing him—Anthony Huber, who died, and Gaige Grosskreutz, who was injured.
Mr. Rittenhouse walked towards police vehicles with arms raised in surrender, but they drove past him trying to reach those who had been shot.
What Charges Did Mr. Rittenhouse Face?
Kyle Rittenhouse faced five felony counts and one misdemeanor weapons charge that was dismissed towards the end of the trial.
The five felony counts that he faced included:
- First-degree intentional homicide
- Attempted first-degree intentional homicide
- First-degree reckless homicide
- First-degree recklessly endangering safety
- First-degree recklessly endangering safety
Throughout the trial, Mr. Rittenhouse maintained that he intended to act as a medic and to protect private property as he was a police and fire academy cadet. And he said that in all three cases, he feared for his life, thus, using deadly force.
Rittenhouse faced five felony counts and one misdemeanor weapons charge.
The Trial and Verdict
During a three-week-long trial, Mr. Rittenhouse chose to go on the stand to testify in his own defense. Under oath, he stated that the shootings were acts of self-defense. After over 25 hours of deliberation by the jury, Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts and has been acquitted of all charges.
Defense for Gun Crimes
If you have been charged with a gun-related crime, you need a top-rated criminal defense team to defend your case. As a former Prosecutor, Florida board-certified attorney Ben Stechschulte will aggressively defend your gun-related charges and will do his best to mitigate your risks should you go to trial.
Call Stechschulte Nell at 813-280-1244 to speak with our experienced criminal defense attorneys about your case today.