The latest development in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has left several observers outraged. On Tuesday afternoon, Kenosha County Circuit Court Bruce Schroeder ruled that defense attorneys can refer to the men who were shot by Kyle Rittenhouse as “rioters,” “arsonists” and “looters” after opening arguments are made.
“He can demonize them if he wants, if he thinks it will win points with the jury,” Schroeder said, according to The Chicago Tribune.
However, the men who Kyle Rittenhouse shot in Kenosha during a protest in 2020 cannot be referred to as “victims” in court.
“The word victim is a loaded, loaded word,” Schroeder said, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Several observers and reporters have argued that “rioters” and “looters” are also loaded words.
“I’m struck by the similarities between this stance and how law enforcement talks about people they injure/kill. Never victims, always suspects,” Portland Mercury News Editor Alex Zielinski tweeted.
“Rittenhouse’s victims, who are dead and can’t defend themselves, have been put on trial—without hearing—by a judge and deemed guilty of the crimes of (1) riot, (2) theft and (3) arson. Meanwhile Rittenhouse—who agrees he killed people—gets to pretend it was a ‘victim’-less crime,” author Seth Abramson added.
Members of the prosecution are equally outraged by this recent ruling. Attorney Thomas Binger explains that the use of the words “arsonist” and “looter” are “more loaded, than the term victim.”
“The terms that I’m identifying here such as rioter, looter and arsonist are as loaded, if not more loaded, than the term victim,” Binger said, according to The Hill.
Last summer, Rittenhouse reportedly traveled across state lines to Kenosha, Wisconsin following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. During a protest that followed the Blake shooting, Rittenhouse shot and killed two people while injuring a third. He has since been charged first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree reckless homicide. He has plead not guilty on all charges and will stand trial in November.
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