The 12-person jury wrapped up the second day of deliberations in the trial of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse on Wednesday as tensions flared among protesters outside the Kenosha, Wis. courthouse.
One protester was caught on video striking a cameraman and police moved in to arrest him and a woman nearby.
Another incident entailed one protester dumping a bottle of Gatorade on another protester.
Protesters also engaged in heated back-and-forth arguments about Rittenhouse’s innocence or guilt.
Kenosha police have tweeted repeatedly this week that no threats to public safety were identified. Governor Tony Evers mobilized 500 National Guard troops last week to support the police in Kenosha, while repeatedly making calls for peace.
The jurors had begun deliberations at 9 a.m. CST on Tuesday and concluded just before 6 p.m. On Wednesday, they deliberated from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During the 7 1/2 hours, the jury spent 45 minutes rewatching evidence videos on a big-screen television inside the courtroom, which Judge Bruce Schroeder ordered cleared out for that duration.
Rittenhouse defense attorneys filed a motion to declare a mistrial without prejudice, meaning Rittenhouse could be re-tried. The attorneys argued that the prosecution provided the defense with only a low-quality version of FBI drone footage showing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, chasing Rittenhouse before Rittenhouse turned around and shot him four times. The defense has argued the footage shows Rosenbaum trying to grab Rittenhouse’s gun, while the prosecution claims Rittenhouse pointed his gun at Rosenbaum and others to provoke them.
Judge Schroeder has not yet ruled on the mistrial motion.
Rittenhouse was charged with one misdemeanor and five felonies: first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. The latter charge, however, was dismissed by Judge Schroeder on Monday.
During closing arguments on Monday, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger painted then-17-year-old Rittenhouse as a reckless teen who took his gun to Kenosha and provoked rioters there, including the individuals who attacked him. Rittenhouse defense attorney Mark Richards argued that Rittenhouse was a kid trying to help his community when he was attacked and his life threatened.
Then-17-year-old Rittenhouse was part of a group of volunteers who protected Kenosha businesses during protests that escalated into looting and rioting that erupted in reaction to the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse also offered medical aid to injured protesters and helped clean graffiti from buildings.
In addition to fatally shooting Rosenbaum to stop his attack, Rittenhouse fired one shot that killed Anthony Huber after Huber struck Rittenhouse with a skateboard. He also fired upon Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived with a wound to his arm. Grosskreutz had testified last Monday that Rittenhouse only fired at him when Grosskreutz aimed his handgun at Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty, and he and his legal team have maintained that his shooting was in self-defense. He was jailed for two months in fall 2020 before posting $2 million bail raised after a crowdfunding effort.
Binger argued on Monday that Rittenhouse provoked attacks on him and isn’t entitled to claims of self-defense.
“Under Wisconsin law, you’re not allowed to run around and point your gun at people. This is the provocation. This is what starts this incident,” Binger said. “You lose the right to self-defense when you’re the one who brought the gun, when you’re the one creating the danger, when you’re the one provoking other people.”
The defense team argued that the prosecution is using buzzwords to detract from Rittenhouse being asked to help defend businesses from destructive riots.
“Kyle was a 17-year-old kid out there trying to help this community,” Rittenhouse’s defense attorney Mark Richards said. “Kyle was not an active shooter. That is a buzzword the state wants to latch onto.”
“My client didn’t shoot anyone until he was chased and cornered,” Richards said, later arguing that Rittenhouse’s behavior was “protected under the law of the state of Wisconsin.”
Last Wednesday, Rittenhouse had broken down in tears during his trial after taking the witness stand to describe the events of August 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the then 17-year-old shot multiple rioters, killing two. Rittenhouse maintains that he was acting in self-defense.
Rittenhouse is seeing a therapist for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) brought on by the violent events in Kenosha last year, his attorney said.