PHOTO CREDITS: POOL/REUTERS
17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who was charged with killing two people and wounding another during a protest in Wisconsin in August, posted his $2 million bail Friday and was released from custody.
Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber – and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz – during a demonstration on Aug. 25 following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He faces multiple charges, including intentional homicide, reckless endangerment, and being a minor in possession of a firearm. Wisconsin law does not permit minors to carry or possess a gun unless they’re hunting. Despite the charges, many supporters of Rittenhouse claim he shot these individuals in self-defense, with multiple videos displaying rioters chasing and charging him, attempting to hit him with potentially dangerous objects, and pulling weapons out on him. Rittenhouse is due back in court on Dec. 3 for a preliminary hearing regarding the case.
Kenosha County Sheriff Sgt. David Wright affirmed Rittenhouse’s release in a Friday statement: “Kyle Rittenhouse’s bond was posted this afternoon at about 2 p.m., which was set up through his attorney,” Wright said. “He is no longer in custody at the Kenosha County Jail.”
Footage of the incident in question for Rittenhouse shows a protester, identified as Joseph Rosenbaum, initially chasing Rittenhouse into a car lot. As Rosenbaum closed in, he threw an object at the armed teenager. The 17-year-old quickly spun around and fired his AR-15, hitting Rosenbaum in the head. After circling around, Rittenhouse made a phone call and then ran off camera. Several demonstrators appeared to begin chasing after the teen. A slow-motion video shows Rittenhouse falling on the ground as a group of protesters rushed towards him. One individual kicked him, while another demonstrator tried to strike him with a skateboard. Several shots can be heard, with one of them fatally wounding the protester holding the skateboard. Another demonstrator who charged at the 17-year-old, believed to have been armed with a pistol, was shot in the arm (RT). In an interview with journalist Elijah Schaffer, the teen said that he was defending businesses from rioters.
Kenosha – a city of about 100,000 people on the western edge of Lake Michigan – saw days of violence after police shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake during an arrest on August 23. Rittenhouse has said he chose to travel to Kenosha from Illinois to protect local businesses during the demonstrations, which turned violent, causing nearly 2 million dollars worth of damage to the city (Yahoo News).
The shootings came on the third night of protests. Mr Rittenhouse told the Post: “I was going into a place where people had guns and God forbid somebody brought a gun to me and decided to shoot me. Like, I wanted to be protected, which I ended up having to protect myself.” The teenager was later arrested at his mother’s house in Antioch, Illinois, and then extradited to Wisconsin.
In a telephone interview with the Washington Post published on Thursday, Mr Rittenhouse said he used money for a fund for those left without work amid the coronavirus pandemic to purchase the gun he took to Kenosha. “I got my first unemployment check so I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll use this to buy it,’” he said.
His case has taken on political overtones. Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have painted Rittenhouse as a white supremacist. The teenager became a celebrity among conservatives, who argued he was there trying to stop rioting in Kenosha. A bail fund, set up two days after charges were filed, went on to collect around $2M from supporters around the country and his mother got a standing ovation from women at a Waukesha County GOP function in September (Independent).
Huber’s father, John Huber, asked Kenosha County Circuit Court Commissioner Loren Keating during a hearing Nov. 2 to set Rittenhouse’s bail between $4 million and $10 million. Huber said Rittenhouse thinks he’s above the law and noted the effort to raise money on his behalf. He also suggested militia groups would hide him from police if he were released. Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, asked for $750,000 bail. Keating ultimately set bail at $2 million, saying Rittenhouse was a flight risk given the seriousness of the charges against him (Denver Post).
Many left-wing figures, celebrities, and media members have since attacked actor Ricky Schroder after it was revealed that he was among the many who helped post the $2 million bail to release Kyle Rittenhouse. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a vocal ally of President Donald Trump, has also been identified as a donor to the cause. Their involvement drew ire from progressive figures, who expressed their shock and criticism on social media. CNN political analyst April Ryan referred to their assistance as a “true showcase in pure racism!” (Breitbart News).
On November 12, Rittenhouse’s mom Wendy appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to announce a defamation lawsuit against Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, and ask for help getting her son out of jail, where he had languished for several months: “You saw the Joe Biden campaign smear your son as a white supremacist. What was your reaction to that?” Carlson asked Kyle Rittenhouse’s mom. “How dare [Joe Biden] do that to my son,” Wendy Rittenhouse said. “That’s my son that he did that too, and I’m not gonna back down to him. And [Kyle Rittenhouse] is not a white supremacist, and he’s not a racist. He’s my son, and I know him, and he is none of that, what Joe Biden said. Kyle is a caring young man. He went to Kenosha to help people. What Joe Biden did, showing my son’s picture and labeling him a white supremacist – I will take him down,” Wendy Rittenhouse added.
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE