Kyle Rittenhouse got some much-needed good news on Tuesday during a pretrial hearing when a use-of-force expert testified that his actions during last year’s riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin were justified.

During the riots, Rittenhouse shot three men, killing two of them, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber. While taking the stand, John Black testified that video shows Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse before reaching for the defendant’s gun. The footage also shows Huber using his skateboard to attack Rittenhouse as he tried to wrestle his gun away from him, and Gaige Grosskreutz, who was wounded, running at the teenager with an armed pistol, according to WQAD 8.

“A citizen in that position, given those indicators, would it be reasonable for them to believe they were about to be assaulted?” Black stated on the stand. “I would argue yes.”Black spent hours testifying about the moments that led up to the shooting, which took place last August. At the time, Rittenhouse was 17 years old and had driven to the Wisconsin town from his home in Antioch, Illinois in response to a call from a Kenosha militia to help protect businesses from rioters. Kenosha had been thrown into chaos with protests over a white police officer’s decision to shoot Jacob Blake, a Black man, during a domestic disturbance. Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down after the shooting.

Rittenhouse fatally shot Rosenbaum just before midnight with an AR-style semiautomatic rifle in the parking lot of a used car dealership. He shot Huber dead in the street moments later and then injured Grosskreutz by shooting him in the arm. Rittenhouse has since been charged with homicide, attempted homicide, and being a minor in possession of a firearm. His attorneys are firing back by arguing that he acted in self-defense. Mark Richards, Rittenhouse’s lead attorney, is trying to get the judge, in this case, to allow Black to testify. Tuesday’s testimony via Zoom was permitted by the judge in the hopes of making his decision on this easier.

While on the stand, Black testified that after thoroughly studying video footage of each of the shootings that was filmed by a bystander, he saw that Rosenbaum was chasing Rittenhouse and threw a plastic bag at him before reaching for the teenager’s rifle.

“Now the firearm is a potential weapon for both parties,” Black said. “Now we have a potential wrestling match.”

Black said that the second shooting occurred after Huber hit Rittenhouse in the neck with his skateboard, prompting the young man to shoot him. While Grosskreutz approached with his hands raised in an “I surrender” motion, he also had a handgun in his hand, and he backed up before he stepped forward and lowered the pistol. That’s when Rittenhouse opened fire and shot him in the arm.

Black testified that Rittenhouse maintained control of his rifle throughout and never sprayed the crowd randomly with bullets.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger fired back by claiming that Black is only an expert in the use of force among police, rather than civilians.

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Rittenhouse’s trial is set to begin in November.


This piece was written by James Samson on October 7, 2021. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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