Last Updated on February 17, 2022
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has mobilized Wisconsin National Guard troops not far from Kenosha in order to deal with potential unrest following the upcoming verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Evers deployed close to 500 troops outside Kenosha in order to help “hundreds of officers from volunteering law enforcement agencies” if any unrest were to occur.
“The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing,” Evers said in a statement. “I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully.”
Closing arguments in the trial were made on Monday while jury deliberations are set to begin later today. Rittenhouse face five felony counts: faces five felony charges: first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and two counts of reckless endangerment. He was also charged with possessing a gun as a minor, a misdemeanor, but this was tossed by Judge Bruce Schroeder.
Kenosha sustained massive damage during the August 2020 riots that erupted after the shooting of convicted sex offender Jacob Blake, who was armed with a knife when he was shot. Fire damage from the multiple nights of unrest topped $11 million with 56 buildings destroyed. Total damages from the riots are estimated upwards of $50 million.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the unrest, lived just minutes away in nearby Antioch, Illinois and worked in Kenosha as a lifeguard. On August 25, Rittenhouse helped clean up from the previous night’s unrest during the day.
At night, he went with a group to help stand guard outside a business called “Car Source”, which owned multiple car lots in Kenosha. On the night of August 24, one Car Source lot was almost completely engulfed in flames, leaving most cars destroyed and resulting in one of the more iconic images from the riots.
The teenager made multiple trips throughout the night between the Car Source lot and the surrounding area in order to provide medical assistance to anyone who needed it.
He was eventually separated from his associate, Ryan Balch, a U.S. Army veteran who had just met earlier in the day, during one of these trips. While attempting to make his way back to Car Source, he encountered a group of rioters that included convicted pedophile Joseph Rosenbaum and Joshua Ziminski, an arsonist who was armed with a handgun.
Multiple witnesses have testified that Rosenbaum charged the teenager and tried to grab his gun during the trial. Video evidence showing Rosenbaum charging Rittenhouse has also been reviewed, including an HD angle that was initially withheld by the FBI. A verdict is expected this week.