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Rittenhouse prosecutors ask judge to disallow ‘looters’, ‘rioters’ or ‘any other pejorative terms’ during trial

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(Video Credit: FOX6 News Milwaukee)

Kyle Rittenhouse, who was charged with fatal shootings during the 2020 Kenosha riots, made an appearance in court on Monday while a judge was asked by the prosecution to ban the three men he shot from being labeled as “looters” or “rioters.”

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shootings and was living in Antioch, Illinois, stands accused of shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber. He also allegedly wounded Gaige Grosskreutz during the violent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Aug. 25, 2020. That was just two days after police shot a black man named Jacob Blake during a response to a domestic disturbance call. Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to killing the men and contends it was self-defense.

Prosecutors requested that the judge disallow descriptive labels such as “rioters, looters, arsonists or any other pejorative terms” when referring to the men who were shot. They want the men referred to by their last names during the trial, according to the Chicago Tribune. The judge ruled that those terms would be allowed if the defense can produce evidence showing that’s what they were.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger made the specious argument that there’s no evidence that any of the three were engaged in those types of activities the night they were shot. He contended that Rittenhouse denied Rosenbaum and Huber an opportunity to defend themselves against those accusations by taking their lives on the night in question.

Kenosha Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder has already ruled that the three men cannot be referred to as “victims.” He said, “The word victim is a loaded, loaded word.” Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards had previously told the court that the men “were not protesters” and were, instead, “rioters.”

Prosecutors also want evidence blocked showing that local police officers provided water to individuals who showed up that night to defend local businesses after responding to calls on social media. The officers also reportedly thanked them for helping to patrol the streets.

A video that was taken before Rittenhouse fired at the rioters showed police officers in an armored vehicle throwing bottled water to a teenager and other individuals who were out past the 8 p.m. curfew.

“We appreciate you guys,” one officer proclaimed. “We really do.”

The defense sees the testimony as being relevant in showing whether Rittenhouse was acting recklessly or not by being out on the streets of Kenosha that night.

“If the conduct was so obviously dangerous, it seems logical that law enforcement would have either removed the defendant from the situation via arrest or informed him that he was to leave the area because of his actions,” Richards stated in a motion. “They did neither.”

The judge has ruled that the video is admissible at trial.

“If the jury is being told, if the defendant is walking down the sidewalk and doing what he claims he was hired to do and police say, ‘good thing you’re here,’ is that something influencing the defendant and emboldening him in his behavior? That would be an argument for relevance,” the judge stated.

Use-of-force expert John Black’s testimony is being sought by Rittenhouse’s attorneys to give weight to their case that he acted in self-defense. Prosecutors want him disqualified, asserting that his expertise is in police, not civilian, use of force and is not relevant to Rittenhouse’s case. However, the judge has ruled he will allow Black’s testimony, according to WISN.

However, Schroeder informed the attorneys that Black wouldn’t be allowed to testify concerning what Rittenhouse was thinking when he pulled the trigger or whether he actually acted in self-defense.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said if Schroeder permitted Black to testify only about the timeline of events that night he wouldn’t call his own expert witness to the stand. Defense attorney Mark Richards has agreed to the deal.

Prosecutors also want to block any references to Rosenbaum’s and Huber’s criminal records because it could poison the jury.

Many see Rittenhouse’s actions as a clear case of self-defense and that the men he shot were indeed looters and rioters:

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