Won a battle, not the war. The riots and the Rittenhouse trial, the true story: the soul of America is at stake

August 24, 2020, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse arrives in Kenosha, Wisconsin from nearby Antioch, Illinois to drive to work. He is a young man who dreams of a future as a servant of the state. He completed a police cadet course, a junior firefighter course, and a first aid course. He works as a lifeguard in a local swimming pool. Rittenhouse lives in Illinois with his mother, but his entire family is from Kenosha. His father, his grandmother, his uncles and cousins ​​live there.

But it is not a day like any other: Kenosha is also going through, like the rest of the country, an unprecedented wave of protests and riots, in the case of the town of Winsconsin triggered by the wounding of Jacob Blake by the police.

On August 23, Jacob Blake, a man with a history of domestic violence and child sexual abuse, shows up at his ex-girlfriend's home. An arrest warrant hangs on him. Previously Blake had sexually assaulted the woman, who had reported him. Blake gets hold of the car keys and forcibly loads the woman's children there, but she calls the police. When the police arrive Blake is getting into the car, the officers tell him to stop. Blake resists arrest by getting into a fight with one of the agents, the taser does not stop him, opens the car door on the driver's side, there is a knife on the floor, tries to grab it, one of the agents opens fire and wounds him. He will remain paralyzed.

The use of force will be judged legitimate and the agents relieved of any accusation of abuse of force or authority. But before this can happen, Kenosha will go through the worst riots in his history.

After all, it is the summer of riots. Unleashed by George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. In the media, in the speeches of politicians and activists, it is no longer just the American judicial system that is being discussed, but the whole of America. The entire institutional system, defined as "systemically racist", is under attack, as is the "unequal" economic system, and even the history of the country, which we want to rewrite. Furthermore, the elections are close, and after spending four years attacking Donald Trump as a racist, the political world sees an opportunity to link the protests to his presidency.

The media minimize or justify any form of protest, even violent. "Where does it say that a protest must be peaceful?" Thunders from CNN Chris Cuomo, anchorman and brother of the governor of the state of New York. Articles, and even books, are published that defend not only violent revolt, but plunder, seen as a form of redistribution for historical wrongs and redistribution of wealth.

New York Times reporter Nellie Bowles goes to Kenosha to investigate. He talks to the locals, and he discovers that the part of the city that is being devastated is the most popular and poor, made up of retail businesses and small businesses. It is these above all that are plundered, devastated, and often set on fire by the rioters. The publication of his article will be held on hold by the NYT until after the election. In the words of Nellie Bowles:

“The reality that brought Kyle Rittenhouse out onto the streets was such that it had to be ignored by us reporters. An elderly man's jaw was broken as he tried to put out the fire in his shop in Kenosha. The editor-in-chief of the Philadelphia Enquirer was forced to resign in July 2020 over staff protests for writing a piece titled: 'Buildings Matter Even'. But if you lived in those burning neighborhoods, you didn't have to grab a fire extinguisher. The acceptable reaction, the only acceptable one, was to see the demolished walls, look at the flames and say: thank you. "

Meanwhile, CNN calls Kenosha's riots "fiery, but mostly peaceful," in an image that has become a famous meme, with a reporter speaking against a backdrop of burning cars.

From their social networks the stars of the entertainment world incite a revolt, Big Tech tycoons pour millions into the coffers of activist organizations engaged in protests, even violent ones. For Jacob Blake the NBA is mobilized, which goes on strike, and the NFL, with the Saints team entering the field with the name of Jacob Blake on their helmets.

Across America, the police withdraw and leave the field open to the rioters. District attorneys refuse to prosecute those arrested. In many cities, street guerrillas become a revolving door where the police arrest the violent, but the next day they are back on the street.

Any attempt to restore order is accused of repression, or even of being the prologue to the establishment of a dictatorship by Donald Trump. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi defines "Stormtroopers" , a term usually referring to the brown coats of the Nazi party, the federal agents sent by Trump to break the siege of the federal court in Portland, which has been under attack by Antifa for several weeks and Black Lives Matter .

Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden exhibits generic condemnations of violence, but in his speeches he endorses all the theories and complaints of the rioters: America is "systemically racist", the violence is caused by white supremacists, Trump is a dictator.

While all of this is happening nationwide, the situation in Kenosha is dramatic. Dozens of buildings are set on fire by activists from all over the country. The National Guard is deployed in support of the police but, according to the new rules for managing riots, the police mostly leave the rioters free, intervening only where strictly necessary. Hoping to be spared, the inhabitants of Kenosha start putting up signs on their doorstep reading: "Children live here" .

On the second night of the riots, armed men appear in the streets determined to protect Kenosha. These are both local and foreign people, both militia members and unaffiliated. Kyle Rittenhouse spent the night with his friend Dominick Black, and the day before was busy cleaning the local high school of graffiti left by protesters. Kyle and Dominick Black decide to join vigilantes. Rittenhouse's intention is, he will testify, to offer medical aid to those in need, and both carry a semi-automatic rifle to defend themselves in case of need.

In the night between 25 and 26 August, Kyle Rittenhouse is seen by numerous witnesses and filmed by reporters on several occasions while providing medical aid to the injured or in the company of other vigilantes. At one point some demonstrators set fire to a garbage can and begin to push it towards a petrol station. The police and vigilantes intervene by extinguishing the fire with a fire extinguisher. One of the rioters who was pushing the dumpster into flames, Joseph Rosenbaum, becomes aggressive, continues to challenge the vigilantes to shoot him. “If I catch you alone tonight, I'll kill you,” he specifically tells Rittenhouse and one of his companions. “I love you too,” Rittenhouse replies.

Rosenbaum is a convict with a long criminal record that includes 11 charges for sexual abuse of minors between the ages of 9 and 11, and is on probation. The previous evening he had been seen pushing another burning dumpster into police cars and carrying out numerous other acts of vandalism.

Later that night Rosenbaum is present at the scene of another fire, at a garage, he is seen setting fire to other waste bins. There he sees Kyle Rittenhouse again and lashes out at him. Rittenhouse runs away screaming: “Dude! Friend! ”, Rosenbaum chases after him. Other protesters join the pursuit, one of them, Joshua Zeminski, detonates a gunshot. Rittenhouse turns, Rosenbaum joins him and tries to grab his rifle. Rittenhouse shoots killing Rosenbaum.

The entire episode is filmed by passers-by and reporters present on the scene. One of the reporters, Richie McGinnies, tries to rescue Rosenbaum. A crowd of mostly rioters gathered on the spot. Rittenhouse calls Dominick Black on the phone: “I killed a man. I'm going to find the police ”, and he starts running. Some of the demonstrators chase him amid screams. "Get him!", "Kill him!", Now Rittenhouse is chased by no less than twenty people. He is repeatedly hit by punches and kicks, at least one of the pursuers has a gun in his hand, numerous other gunshots echo in the air. When he trips and falls, Anthony Huber, another rioter with a criminal record for domestic violence, hits him in the head twice with a skateboard and tries to snatch the rifle from his hand. Rittenhouse shoots killing Huber, then gets up and continues his escape.

At this point, Gaige Grosskreutz, an activist belonging to a socialist political organization employed in Kenosha by the ACLU as an observer, enters the scene. Grosskreutz is in possession of an illegal weapon, a Glock pistol, which he is not allowed to own due to his long criminal record. He reaches Rittenhouse, draws his gun and points it at him. Rittenhouse fires hitting Grosskreutz in the arm, neutralizing him, and runs off. He reaches the police and gives himself up.

With Kyle Rittenhouse in custody, pro-protest, media-led America lines up for guilt long before the facts are known. Here are born many of the false stories that still carry on today, such as the one according to which Rittenhouse crossed the state border in possession of an illegal weapon, as well as the notion, based absolutely on nothing, that Rittenhouse is a "white supremacist" , an expression whose definition has now been extended far beyond its original meaning.

Many Democratic politicians, including Joe Biden himself, refer to Rittenhouse as a white supremacist, and his image is used in a Biden campaign ad with this very wording. Like a snowball turning into an avalanche as it rolls down a hill, Rittenhouse's depictions of a demonic figure get bigger and bigger. It is a "domestic terrorist" who killed "peaceful protesters" without any provocation. He had gone to Kenosha expressly "to kill". "Put him in jail and throw away the key."

Of course, the situation worsens when Trump refuses to condemn Rittenhouse by saying he wants to wait for justice to run its course.

As is now the rule, words are followed by concrete actions. GoFoundMe closes the page that raises funds for Kyle Rittenhouse's legal defense. A policeman in Virginia and a paramedic in Utah, who had made a donation, are doxed and investigated by their own departments. The policeman loses his job. Facebook suspends accounts that support the young man, Twitter disables the "retweet" button on Kyle's mother's account. The shooting is perhaps the best documented in history, shot by dozens of video cameras, but the video clips algorithmically end up at the bottom of the queue.

After the conviction of Derek Chauvin, whose trial was marked by heavily guilty media coverage, inappropriate comments from politicians, and threats of further violent riots, it seems that Kyle Rittenhouse is destined to do the same.

At this point the process has a clear political connotation. The media, democratic politicians, the world of activism have made Rittenhouse a banner of white supremacism and anti-protest vigilantism, "fiery but mostly peaceful" . America on the other hand, the one that does not believe that America is "systemically racist" and that has not justified the "mostly peaceful" riots of summer 2020, feels that a conviction by Rittenhouse would practically mean the end of any possibility of stopping violent rioters.

No matter what the cause of the uprising, even as specious as the wounding of Jacob Blake, activists will march, rioters will destroy and burn, the media will play down, politicians will sympathize, police and courts will condone. And those who suffer, well, they can't act. Not even in self-defense. The sentiment is summed up by Jim Hanson in The Federalist :

“The purpose of media provocateurs is to delegitimize this fundamental right to protect our communities and ourselves in the absence of official security forces. The looting and destroying hordes suit them perfectly, and they have even invented the shameful euphemism 'restorative justice' to describe them ”.

The trial opens in Kenosha on November 2, 2021. Kyle Rittenhouse is charged with three counts of murder, two counts of dangerous conduct, and one charge of possession of a dangerous and prohibited weapon for minors.

For the prosecution, things got bad right away. All the videos confirm Rittenhouse's version, and so do the witnesses. Richie McGinnies, the reporter who filmed Rosenbaum's shooting and rescue, confirms that Rosenbaum was chasing Rittenhouse and tried to get hold of his weapon. Ryan Balch, who was with Kyle at the gas station, confirms Rosenbaum's previous death threat. But the real turning point, a twist worthy of Parry Mason, occurs when Gaige Grosskreutz, contradicting what was previously stated, admits that he was the first to point his gun at Rittenhouse.

At this point, not a few criminalist lawyers following the trial ask for it to be closed immediately, and wonder why such an obvious case of self-defense has been brought before a jury altogether.

Harvard law faculty emeritus professor Alan Dershowitz, historic civil rights attorney protagonist of sensational cases in recent American history (and the one who got OJ Simpson acquitted), has no doubts: "If I were on the jury, I would vote for the legitimate doubt, that he acted in self-defense ”, and encourages Rittenhouse to sue all the media that have slandered him.

But, with some exceptions, the media don't give up. They keep repeating the same stories and accusations, and start attacking the judge. Gaige Grosskreutz is interviewed at CNN by one of his top anchormans , Anderson Cooper, and after testifying under oath that he was the first to point the gun, on live television, he returns to deny it. Some media go so far as to alter the videos and transcripts of the process.

Despite this, the number of people following the trial who realize they have been misinformed begins to increase. Bari Weiss, a former NYT journalist, now independent, writes:

“Here's what I believed to be true about Kyle Rittenhouse in the final days of 2020 based on mainstream media stories. He was a 17-year-old racist vigilante. He had crossed the state border with an illegally purchased semi-automatic rifle to go to Kenosha, a city with which he had no connection. I thought he went there because he knew there was going to be a Black Lives Matter protest and he wanted to strike a fight. And I believed that on the evening of August 25, 2020 he did just that, killing two peaceful demonstrators and injuring a third. "

And he adds:

“It wasn't a disinformation campaign run by trolls on Reddit or anonymous Twitter accounts. It has been pushed by the mainstream media and by incumbent members of Congress for the sake of a political narrative of convenience. A narrative that asked the public to believe, among other unrealities, that entire blocks in flames constituted a peaceful protest ”.

The prosecutor gets another cold shower when the charge of possession of a dangerous weapon is dropped. The fact that Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old, was armed with a rifle has generated a lot of perplexity and a lot of false news and confused notions so it is good to explain in detail:

  1. Rittenhouse did not cross the state border with a weapon, the weapon was already in Winsconsin.

2. The law prohibits a minor from buying firearms, but not handling them under certain circumstances. For example for hunting, at a shooting range, or for self-defense purposes. Note that this only applies to long guns.

3. Dominick Black testified that he bought the gun on behalf of the young man and kept it at home. Buying a weapon on behalf of a minor would be illegal, it's called a “straw purchase” , but for some reason neither Black nor Rittenhouse have been charged with this crime, but it's not clear why. Perhaps it was an immunity bestowed on Black in exchange for his testimony against Rittenhouse, perhaps the fact that the weapon was kept in Black's home made the case weak.

As if that were not enough, during the trial the prosecution becomes the protagonist of numerous ethical and procedural violations, earning harsh reprimands from the judge, who at one point even tells the prosecutor not to believe in his good faith, after which mentioned to the jury a piece of evidence that had been excluded as not relevant in the pre-trial phase (it was a photo of Rittenhouse, post-arrest, in the company of some members of the Proud Boys ), and for suggesting to the jury that there was something sinister about Rittenhouse's refusal to speak to police after arrest before speaking to a lawyer. As anyone who has ever seen an American crime scene knows, in the United States the "right to remain silent" is the normal procedure, and is in fact a right guaranteed by law under the Constitution's Fifth Amendment.

It also turns out that the prosecution may have withheld evidence from the defense. In particular, a video taken by an FBI surveillance drone showing the entire sequence of events. The prosecution sent the defense only a low-resolution version of the video, and they justify themselves by blaming the compression during sending.

On the basis of these violations, the defense makes more than one request for an acquittal of the trial with prejudice (inability to try Kyle Rittenhouse again), but the judge reserves the right to decide after hearing the jury.

The jury is tense. The identities of the jurors are secret, but someone has already been pinched trying to identify them. A man was stopped filming jurors entering the courtroom, and the MSNBC television network was banned from the courtroom because a correspondent attempted to follow the van that takes the jurors home at the end of the day. Jacob Blake's nephew releases a delusional video in which he directly threatens the jurors. On its way to court, the jurors' bus must pass through a cordon of protesters every day who threaten all kinds of revenge if Kyle Rittenhouse is acquitted. Many fear that jurors will be intimidated and that their judgment will be influenced.

The jury stays in session for three and a half days, which is usually a bad sign for the defense, but almost surprisingly at the time of the verdict, says Kyle Rittenhouse cleared of all charges.

And America is once again torn between anger and relief. The narrative in the media and in politics remains unchanged, and indeed screams revenge: it was a victory for white supremacism, proof that the American system does not work. Even President Biden, while urging to respect the jury's decision, declares himself "angry and worried".

The foreign press is an orgy of disinformation flattened on cliché. Kyle Rittenhouse is a far-right militiaman, or even a policeman, who opened fire indiscriminately on peaceful black protesters.

The other America is relieved. The fear of seeing the end of the old system of the popular jury, capable of making the unpopular but right decision in the face of intimidation, was strong. But she remains worried. “It shouldn't have been in doubt. It shouldn't have taken three and a half days to deliberate. She shouldn't have been prosecuted, ”says Will Chamberlain, co-editor of the conservative magazine Human Events and a lawyer.

"We won a battle, but not the war," says Tim Pool, an independent journalist who has followed the Rittenhouse affair from the start and up close, and who has never made any secret of his belief that Kyle was innocent, "And for many verses, we have sustained heavy losses ”.

The post Won a battle, not the war. The riots and the Rittenhouse trial, the true story: the soul of America at stake appeared first on Atlantico Quotidiano .

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL http://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/quotidiano/vinta-una-battaglia-non-la-guerra-le-rivolte-e-il-processo-a-rittenhouse-la-vera-storia-in-gioco-lanima-dellamerica/ on Tue, 23 Nov 2021 03:48:00 +0000.