This hearing was the final before Rittenhouse went on trial on Nov. 1, 2020 for shooting during chaotic demonstrations in Kenosha, Aug. 25, 2020. It happened two days after a white officer responding to a domestic disturbance shot Jacob Blake in the back.
Antioch, Illinois' Rittenhouse was one of many people who responded to calls via social media for them to join the fight and travel to Kenosha in support of the protests. Rittenhouse, a white man, is being charged with homicide as well as other crimes in the shooting deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz.
Rittenhouse's lawyers want John Black, a use-of force expert, to testify that Rittenhouse acted for self-defense. Judge Bruce Schroeder has been asked by the prosecution to stop Black's testimony. He argues that jurors do not need to be able to fully understand what happened that night.
Schroeder informed the attorneys that Black would not be allowed to testify as to what Rittenhouse thought when he pulled the trigger, or whether he acted in self defense.
Thomas Binger, Assistant District Attorney, stated that if Schroeder allowed Black only to testify about the chronology of events that night, he would not call his own expert on the stand. The deal was accepted by Mark Richards, defense attorney.
Binger requested that Schroeder ban a video of police telling Rittenhouse, Rittenhouse, and other armed militia members that were on the streets saying that they appreciate their presence. The video shows Rittenhouse receiving a bottle water and Rittenhouse being handed a bottle. The prosecution claimed that the video would make the trial seem like a referendum on the police procedure, even though it's not relevant.
Binger stated, "This case is about what the defendant did that evening." "I am concerned that this will become a trial about the actions or inactions of law enforcement on that night.
Corey Chirafisi, defense attorney, argued that the video proves that Rittenhouse was not acting recklessly. Binger countered by arguing that Rittenhouse had interacted with police before the shootings occurred. However, Schroeder allowed the video to be made.
"If the jury is being asked, if defendant is walking down the street doing what he claimed he was hired for, and police say good job you're there, is that something that influences the defendant's behavior and encourages him? The judge stated that this would be an argument for relevancy.
Binger also requested that Schroeder deny the defense's request to refer to Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz in a rioter, looter, or arsonists context. These terms will be permitted if the defense can show that they are what they are, according to the judge.
Many conservatives have rallied around Rittenhouse to support him, calling him a patriot, making him a symbol of gun rights and raising $2million for his bail. Some liberals and activists portray him as a domestic terrorist and claim he made an already volatile situation more dangerous.