Source: Civis Americanus
I downloaded and read the charges filed against Kyle Rittenhouse by Kenosha assistant district attorney Angelina Gabriele. If I were on the jury and read only the D.A.’s side of the story, I would acquit Rittenhouse for the most serious charges without even listening to his side. The only one that looks to me as if it could have merit is “possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18,” which is a misdemeanor.
Let’s start with Rittenhouse’s first assailant, Joseph D. Rosenbaum. If this is Joseph Don Rosenbaum from Arizona, he served prison time, which is usually consistent with a felony conviction. I was unable to confirm from AZ or WI records that he was a sexual offender, as some have claimed. The following is not Rittenhouse’s side of the story as told by himself or his attorney; it is the prosecutor’s side of the story. The “probable cause” portion of the document says (I am copying from an OCR transcription of the original PDF document so the accuracy might not be 100%, and emphasis is mine):
Following the defendant is Rosenbaum … The video shows that as they cross the parking lot, Rosenbaum appears to throw an object at the defendant. The object does not hit the defendant and a second video shows, based on where the object landed, that it was a plastic bag.
The prosecutor has therefore stipulated that Rosenbaum followed Rittenhouse, and the video shows that he pursued Rittenhouse. The video also shows that the unknown object went considerably farther than an empty plastic bag would have gone, which suggests that it was some kind of weapon.
Rosenbaum appears to be unarmed for the duration of this video. A review of the second video shows that the defendant and Rosenbaum continue to move across the parking lot and approach the front of a black car parked in the lot. A loud bang is heard on the video, then a male shouts, ‘**** you’, then Rosenbaum appears to continue to approach the defendant and gets in near proximity to the defendant when 4 more loud bangs are heard. Rosenbaum then falls to the ground.
The prosecutor therefore stipulated that Rosenbaum not only continued to approach Rittenhouse, but was in close proximity to him. She then adds that, according to the witness, “McGinnis stated that there were other people that were moving very quickly. McGinnis stated that they were moving towards the defendant. McGinnis said that according to what he saw the defendant was trying to evade these individuals,” thus stipulating not only that the mob was chasing Rittenhouse, as shown in the video, but also that Rittenhouse was attempting to retreat from the mob rather than use deadly force. Rittenhouse did his best to de-escalate and disengage while his assailants insisted on a deadly confrontation, which, in Rosenbaum’s case, ended badly.
The D.A.’s “probable cause” continues by stipulating that Rosenbaum did try to grab Rittenhouse’s weapon, which seems to constitute robbery (forcible taking, a violent felony) of a firearm that could have been turned immediately on its owner. “McGinnis said that the unarmed guy (Rosenbaum) was trying to get the defendant’s gun. McGinnis demonstrated by extending both of his hands in a quick grabbing motion and did that as a visual on how Rosenbaum tried to reach for the defendant’s gun. Detective Cepress indicates that he asked McGinnis if Rosenbaum had his hands on the gun when the defendant shot. McGinnis said that he definitely made a motion that he was trying to grab the barrel of the gun.” The prosecutor offers no justification, such as self-defense, for Rosenbaum’s actions, which means he had no right to take Rittenhouse’s firearm.
The criminal complaint then stipulates that a mob was indeed chasing Rittenhouse while yelling violent threats such as “Get his ***!” and allegedly “Beat him up!” “Then a male in a light-colored top runs towards the defendant and appears to swing at the defendant with his right arm. This swing makes contact with the defendant, knocking his hat off.”
The prosecutor goes on to stipulate that convicted domestic abuser Anthony M. Huber assaulted Rittenhouse with a weapon and then did exactly what Rosenbaum did to get himself killed; he tried to grab Rittenhouse’s rifle. “Anthony Huber approaches the defendant who is still on the ground, on his back. Huber has a skateboard in his right hand. When Huber reaches the Defendant it appears that he is reaching for the defendant’s gun with his left hand as the skateboard makes contact with the defendant’s left shoulder. Huber appears to be trying to pull the gun away from the defendant.” This tells me (my perception) that Huber tried to commit an armed robbery to obtain a firearm he was prohibited from possessing as a convicted violent felon, and also that he assaulted Rittenhouse with a weapon — one of the aggravating factors in his domestic abuse conviction, too.
Next we come to the survivor, Gaige P. Grosskreutz. “After shooting Huber, the defendant moves to a seated position and points his gun at a third male, later identified as Gaige Grosskreutz, who had begun to approach the defendant. When the defendant shot Huber, Grosskreutz freezes and ducks and takes a step back. Grosskreutz puts his hands in the air.” This tells me Grosskreutz had a possible opportunity at this moment to de-escalate and disengage, but he chose not to take it. “Grosskreutz then moves towards the defendant who aims his gun at Grosskreutz and shoots him, firing 1 shot. Grosskreutz was shot in the right arm. Grosskreutz appears to be holding a handgun in his right hand when he was shot.“
Rittenhouse refrained from shooting another individual who put up his empty hands to show that he wished to discontinue whatever he was doing — a rapid de-escalation for which both Rittenhouse and the other man deserve credit. Grosskreutz, on the other hand, continued to advance while allegedly armed. “Hands up, don’t shoot” doesn’t count when you are holding a firearm in your upraised hand.
I am not an attorney, but my understanding is that the prosecutor must establish a prima facie (at first sight) case to charge somebody with a crime. Prima facie means that if we assume that everything in the criminal complaint is true, the defendant is guilty. If we assume that everything in the complaint against Kyle Rittenhouse is true, it looks instead as though all the shootings were clear-cut self-defense, while the misdemeanor charge is the only one that survives even this preliminary assessment.
While I am not an expert witness, either, here is what Massad Ayoob (who is) has to say about not only the Rittenhouse shooting, but also the Jacob Blake shooting that prompted the civil disorder in Kenosha in the first place. Ayoob points out, for example, the issues of (1) disparity of force and also (2) that Huber’s skateboard was a dangerous weapon similar to an axe handle.
Civis Americanus is the pen name of a contributor who remembers the lessons of history and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way. The author is remaining anonymous due to the likely prospect of being subjected to “cancel culture” for exposing the Big Lie behind Black Lives Matter.