Men shot by Kyle Rittenhouse can’t be called ‘victims’ at trial, but may be called
Rittenhouse appears in Wisconsin courtroom
Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois man accused of killing two people during a protest in Wisconsin over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, made his first in-person court appearance for a status conference Friday. (May 21)
A Monday decision from a Wisconsin judge about terms lawyers could use in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial is again drawing national attention to the case.
Rittenhouse will go on trial next week for shooting three people, two fatally, during a protest against police brutality last year in Kenosha, about 40 miles southeast of Milwaukee.
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder has a standard rule prohibiting use of the term “victim” until someone is convicted of a crime, and Schroeder said the people shot by Rittenhouse could not be called victims.
Schroeder was also not swayed by a request from Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger seeking to bar defense lawyers from calling the men “looters, rioters, arsonists or any other pejorative term.”
While looting, rioting and arson occurred in the two nights before the shooting, Binger argued that unless there’s specific proof the people shot by Rittenhouse engaged in any of those actions, and that Rittenhouse had seen it, the labels are even more “loaded” than what judge ascribes to “victim.”
“Let the evidence show what it shows,” Schroeder said. He declined to prohibit the defense from using the state’s unwanted terms.
Rittenhouse’s name again was trending Tuesday on Twitter following Schroeder’s decision, with some pundits tweeting criticism of the judge. Others expressed support for Rittenhouse, who has became a cause célèbre among some conservatives and gun rights advocates.
The hearing was likely the last before Rittenhouse goes on trial Nov. 1 for the shootings during chaotic demonstrations on Aug. 25, 2020, two days after a white police officer in that city shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back while responding to a domestic disturbance.
Rittenhouse, 18, of Antioch, Illinois, was among a number of people who responded to calls on social media to take up arms and come to Kenosha to respond to the protests. Rittenhouse, who is white, is charged with homicide and other crimes in the fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, all also white.
Schroeder on Monday laid out the final ground rules on what evidence will be allowed at the trial. The judge ruled he’ll permit testimony from the defense’s use-of-force expert and on how police welcomed Rittenhouse and others carrying guns during the demonstration.
Contributing: The Associated Press