It is a sensitive trial that opened in the United States on Monday 1is November in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, an American far-right activist, is accused of murder for shooting two men during clashes on the sidelines of major anti-racist protests on August 25, 2020.
Hearings began in the morning with the selection of the twelve jurors and their eight substitutes, from among 150 potential jurors, and are expected to last two to three weeks. This jury will have to stay “Fair and impartial” for “To reach a rational decision” in that case “Very political” which was widely publicized in the country, said Judge Bruce Schroeder, who is presiding over the proceedings. The court, located in the city center where hundreds of protesters gathered for several days last year, is under heavy security measures.
During the debates, prosecutors are expected to portray Kyle Rittenhouse as a right-wing extremist who came precisely to Kenosha to do battle with anti-racist protesters. His lawyers will plead the right to self-defense, ensuring that he fired to protect himself from the rioters who were pursuing him.
Armed with an assault rifle
Aged 17, this white supremacist from Antioch, a small town in the neighboring state of Illinois, joined armed men who presented themselves as “Self-defense groups” eager to protect the town of Kenosha, shaken by riots after a police blunder. On August 23, 2020, Kenosha burst into flames after a white policeman seriously injured a young black man, Jacob Blake, by shooting him in the back during an attempted stop.
Videos uploaded on August 25 show Kyle Rittenhouse armed with an assault rifle amid protesters. On one of the recordings, he appears to flee as another youngster collapses to the ground, shot in the head. In another video, he is seen being chased by a group, falling to the ground, turning around with gun in hand. Shots are then audible. Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber succumb to the shots. A third protester, Gaige Grosskreutz, was injured.
Kyle Rittenhouse, arrested shortly after, was charged with murder and released on bail of $ 2 million. He pleads not guilty and faces life imprisonment.
Victims described as “rioters” or from « looters “
The affair had a political resonance, in the middle of the American presidential campaign. Donald Trump, candidate for re-election, went to Kenosha in early September 2020, and then refused to condemn Mr. Rittenhouse’s actions. “You saw the video, he was trying to escape them, then commented Mr. Trump. I imagine he was in a mess and probably would have been killed. ”
Since then, the young man has become a muse in certain right-wing circles for whom the great mobilization against police violence in the summer of 2020 was the work of violent radicals, of“Antifas” (anti-fascists) or “Anarchists”.
Judge Schroeder, an experienced magistrate, also sparked controversy by refusing prosecutors to talk about ” victims “ about the people killed or injured by Kyle Rittenhouse, while allowing his lawyers to label them as“Rioters” or from “Looters”.
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Trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the far-right activist accused of the murder of two protesters in the United States begins