Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Jurors see videos showing violent unrest, moments leading up to fatal shooting

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Day two of proceedings in the trial for Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Wednesday consisted largely of video showing the unrest and the events that led to the moments he was seen fatally shooting two men and wounding a third last year – including footage of a man chasing Rittenhouse and throwing a bag at him before being mortally wounded. 

Prosecutors on Wednesday used video and witness testimony to recount for the jury the events of Aug. 25, 2020, which were preceded by two nights of unrest, with businesses being ransacked and set on fire. The video, played for the 20-person jury of 11 women and nine men, shows in part the man running after Rittenhouse and throwing a plastic bag at him. 

Someone is heard yelling “F— you!,” followed by the sounds of the four shots Rittenhouse fired, killing Joseph Rosenbaum, though the shooting itself is not clearly seen on camera. Rosenbaum was the first of three men Rittenhouse shot that night, two of them fatally.

Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing two protesters in Wisconsin during a period of civil unrest, received thousands of dollars in donations for his legal defense from public officials and police officers.  (Adam Rogan/The Journal Times via AP, File)

“Oh, he shot him! He shot him, man. He shot him. He shot him, man. He laid him out,” the person making the video can be heard saying.

Footage shown to the jury also showed Rosenbaum lying on the ground as frantic bystanders surrounded him to help. He had a wound to his head, and a bystander placed a shirt on it to apply pressure.

The videos were part of a wealth of footage played for the jury that captured the repeated sound of gunfire in the streets and the chaos that ensued after the 17-year-old aspiring police officer opened fire with an assault-style rifle during a tumultuous demonstration against police brutality during the summer of 2020.

Rittenhouse is charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, recklessly endangering safety and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. 

Kyle Rittenhouse leaves the courtroom after his side gives opening statements to the jury at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

He was 17 in August 2020 when he traveled from his home state of Illinois during protests in the city over the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse went with at least one friend to downtown Kenosha to help protect a car dealership from property damage after cars at another lot owned by the same business were burned the night before.

He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

During opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors portrayed him as the instigator of the bloodshed, while his lawyer argued that he acted in self-defense after Rosenbaum tried to grab his gun and others in the crowd kicked him in the face and hit him in the head with a skateboard.

Kenosha Police Department Detective Martin Howard swears in before giving testimony at Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in on Wednesday, Nov. 3,  2021. 
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

A Kenosha detective who took the stand on Wednesday detailed injuries Rittenhouse suffered that night, all seemingly minor: a half-inch scratch above his eyebrow, a small cut inside his lower lip, a 2-inch scratch below his collarbone, a 2-inch scratch on his forearm, a scratch on his back and two bumps the size of pennies on his head.

Many of the videos played at the trial were found by police on various social media sites.

One showed Rittenhouse saying before the shootings that he was there to protect property and provide medical care to anyone who was hurt.

Mark Richards, Kyle Rittenhouse’s lead attorney, left, talks with Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, center, during a break in Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Wednesday, Nov. 3 2021. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

In one, the interviewer mentioned non-lethal weapons and Rittenhouse responded: “We don’t have non-lethal.” The man filming the video then asked if Rittenhouse was “full-on” ready to defend the property and he replied, “Yes, we are.”

In the courtroom, a serious-looking Rittenhouse cast a downward look at times, at one point just staring at the desk in front of him, as the videos were played. He appeared to take deep breaths.

Earlier, jurors were shown videos livestreamed that night by Koerri Washington, a social media influencer from Kenosha, Rittenhouse can be seen running through the frame, carrying a fire extinguisher.

Washington said he followed the 17-year-old Rittenhouse after noticing him earlier that evening.

Corey Chirafisi, an attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse, points to a video while questioning Koerri Washington during the trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Wednesday, Nov. 3,  2021.
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

“He just looked kind of young to me,” Washington said. “And he had these gloves on and he was smoking cigarettes and stuff. … He kind of seemed like an interesting figure, so I just took a mental note of that. It wasn’t anything, I wouldn’t say malicious, just a young person in a situation.”

Shortly after Rittenhouse is seen, the video captures the sound of one gunshot, which was fired into the air by someone in the crowd, according to authorities. The defense has said that that shot made Rittenhouse think he was under attack.

Many jurors seemed to jot down extensive notes when testimony turned to the level of violence at the Kenosha protests, which included protesters throwing firebombs and rocks on the night of the shooting.

Koerri Washington says he recognizes a photograph of a garbage truck on fire while testifying during Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. 
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

Many members of the jury seemed especially attentive when a defense attorney during cross-examination played video of dozens of cars in a used-car lot on fire the day before the shooting. Prosecutors have emphasized an absence of deadly violence, other than from Rittenhouse, on the night of the killings.

Moments after shooting the 36-year-old Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse shot and killed Anthony Huber, 26, a protester from Silver Lake, Wisconsin, who was seen on bystander video hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard.

Defense attorney Mark Richards portrayed Rittenhouse as the victim, saying that Rosenbaum “lit the fuse that night” and that Huber was “trying to separate the head from the body” with the skateboard.

Rittenhouse then wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, a protester from West Allis, Wisconsin, who had a gun in his hand as he stepped toward Rittenhouse.

Richards indicated during Tuesday’s opening statements that Rittenhouse will be testify at some point in the trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks. 

Fox News’ Jiovanni Lieggi contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

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