Student Commentary: The Case of Kyle Rittenhouse

Aneeza Ali , Newswriter

In Kenosha Wisconsin in August of 2020, a Black Lives Matter protest turned into a fatal shooting leaving two dead and one critically injured. It stemmed from the origins that a young black male by the name of Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer leaving the entire African American and BLM support movement upset. What was supposed to be a peaceful protest left most scarred for life as well as politically divides the nation over the case of Kyle Rittenhouse.

What happened on the night of August 25, 2020? Riots and Protests were happening in Wisconsin due to the fatal shooting of Jacob Blake, a young black male who was shot by a police officer. Many local businesses were being looted and set on fire due to the anger and frustration of the fellow citizens. A white male had established the Kenosha Guard. This guard was to “protect” the local businesses from being set aflame and to “help other citizens from getting harmed.” Throughout the night, this guard was set up at multiple car dealerships fully armed.

The most alarming person who was a part of the guard was 17-year-old white male Kyle Rittenhouse. He had purchased his gun from his friend Dominick Black, who had agreed to keep the gun until he was of age to possess one. With a fully loaded AR-15, he and the other members of the guard remained stationary to prevent fires and vandalism as they claimed to be so dangerous.

Joseph Rosenbaum was a local Kenosha resident that suffered from bipolar disorder and was homeless. He had recently been discharged from the hospital earlier that day after suffering from a suicide attempt. He appeared at this rally with a hospital bag and a hospital band that was still left on his wrist. After altercations with other people Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse unarmed. Rittenhouse had claimed that “he was going to take my gun” which could not be inferred because Rosenbaum was just approaching him with only a plastic bag.

Rittenhouse shot him four times at close range, killing him. Joseph Rosenbaum was unarmed, and suffered from a mental illness, he was discharged from trying to end his life just to be killed in the end. To disarm Rittenhouse after he was jogging through the street after people had heard the shots and screamed “he shot someone,” another victim met his end. Anthony Huber had struck Rittenhouse in the head and shoulder with a skateboard. Huber was trying to disarm Rittenhouse in which he then turned around and shot him in the chest, killing him.

Gaige Grosskreutz, a former paramedic, was armed himself. He was a paramedic, working on injuries of others injured in the protest as well as participating in the protest. Pointing his gun at Rittenhouse, using “self-defense” he shot Grosskreutz in the right arm critically wounding him. After these events, police are stationed a block away during the gunfire. Rittenhouse approached the police with his hands up, but he was not put in custody till the next day. They drove right past him.

After the fatal shooting in Kenosha Wisconsin, Rittenhouse was charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, two counts of reckless endangerment, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, and one count of curfew violation. His trial started on Nov. 1 after he had spent a few months in jail. His lawyer had argued that his actions were of self-defense, and that he had good intentions. After 26 hours of deliberation, the jury had come to a verdict. Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges. No charge including the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm was acquitted and this stirred a panic among national news.

This case has become the heart of politics, dividing both sides on whether he was acting in self-defense or not. Will the victims’ families ever be heard, or will this case disappear into the world just like many others?