The 18-year-old white man who shot three black men and killed two of them during an anti-racist demonstration in Kenosha, USA, in August 2020, wept copiously on Wednesday (10) as he made his defense in the case. According to him, the murders were an act of self-defence.
A video shown in court showed the moment when Kyle Rittenhouse shoots Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, four times. In the scene, it is possible to see that, at the time of the shooting, the accused was followed by the anti-racist protester, but, as reported by the NBC News channel , forensic expert Doug Kelley told the court he concluded that Rosenbaum was not a threat at the time.
“I didn’t notice Rosenbaum until he got out of the back of the car, in an ambush,” the accused told the jury, before starting to gasp and cry when the judge called for a break in the trial.
Questioned by the prosecution, he said he did “what he had to do to stop the person who was attacking me” and added that “two of them died, but I prevented the threat from attacking me”. At the time of the murders, Rittenhouse was 17 years old. In addition to Rosenbaum, young Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, and Anthony Huber, 27, who also died, were shot on the same day by the teenager.
Rittenhouse also said he had been threatened twice with death by Rosenbaum and was in the middle of the act to protect a used car dealership along with other armed men.
The accused also stated that his objective was to offer medical help to the wounded — even if he was carrying an AR-15 rifle. In addition to five crimes, he was accused of carrying a weapon under the legal age allowed.
Prosecutors, however, emphasized that Rittenhouse was the only person to shoot someone on a night when hundreds of protesters took to the streets, some peacefully and others involved in arson, looting and riots.
The acts in Kenosha, Wisconsin, began after Jacob Blake, a black man, was shot in the back by a white agent during a police approach two days earlier in an action filmed by witnesses. Three months earlier, George Floyd had been murdered by another white policeman.
In late October, the judge in the case, Bruce Schroeder, ruled that the prosecution could not refer to the shot as victims because, in their view, the term is loaded with pre-trial.
In return, prosecutor Thomas Binger asked the judge that the Rittenhouse defense also be barred from describing Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz as “troublemakers, looters or arsonists.”
For him, the terms are as or more value-judgmental than “victims” and should be banned, because there is no evidence that those shot were committing crimes when they were shot.
Judge Schroeder denied the request, but conditioned the use of adjectives considered pejorative to the presentation of evidence to prove the claims of the defendant’s lawyers.