18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse is currently on trial for the killing of two men and wounding of another. Rittenhouse’s shooting occurred on the night of August 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin at protests that occurred following the police shooting of Black man Jacob Blake. On the night of the shooting, Rittenhouse shot at a total of four people, resulting in two fatalities and one wounding. Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber were killed, and Gaige Grosskreutz was wounded.
Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to six charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and first-degree attempted homicide. The prosecution seeks out to show that Rittenhouse’s acts were uncontrolled and criminal, whereas the defense argues that he was acting in self-defense.
Prior to the night of Rittenhouse’s killings, Kenosha had endured two nights of protests concerning the shooting of a local Black man, Jacob Blake. The protests were referred to as chaotic, and police were using rubber bullets and tear gas to “control” crowds.
At around 10 pm on the night of the killings, Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, held an AR-15-style rifle outside of a used-car dealership with other armed men. While testifying, Rittenhouse said that he was asked to help guard the dealership to prevent looting and arson. He also testified that he had a medical kit with him and that his goal was to help anyone who may become injured that night.
During his testimony, Rittenhouse states that Rosenbaum threatened his life twice this night, and that he eventually ambushed him. Rittenhouse says that he tried to run from him, and that Rosenbaum threw a bag at him that he mistook for a chain. Then, Rittenhouse aimed the rifle at Rosenbaum, and Rosenbaum proceeded towards him, Rittenhouse also testifying that Rosenbaum grabbed his gun. Rittenhouse states that he then heard a gunshot behind him, and then fired four times at Rosenbaum, killing him.
After fleeing the scene of the Rosenbaum shooting, a crowd followed him, and he began to get hit with a skateboard by Huber and had rocks thrown at him. This caused him to fall to the ground, and Huber hit him with the skateboard again. Again, Rittenhouse states that Huber grabbed his gun and even “felt the strap coming off [his] body,” and he proceeded to fire a shot, killing Huber.
Grosskreutz, also armed, then ran up to Rittenhouse, with his hands raised in a “surrender” position. Grosskreutz continued to proceed towards Rittenhouse, and he fired a shot towards him, hitting him in the arm. Rittenhouse testifies that Grosskreutz was pointing the pistol towards his head before he shot.
After the shootings, Rittenhouse testified that he approached police with his hands up, but they ordered him to get out of the way and go home. Rittenhouse then turned himself in at the Antioch Police Department an hour after these events.
The murder trial has drawn in a great amount of attention, for numerous reasons. Most recently Judge Bruce Schroeder, who is overseeing the case, made an inappropriate joke regarding Asian food. As the court was prepping to take a lunch break on November 11, 2021, the judge stated, “I hope the Asian food isn’t coming… isn’t on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor.” Schroeder’s comment seems to refer to the supply chain backlogs that have stemmed from overcrowding problems in California ports. John Yang, president, and executive director of AAJC says that the judge’s comment “harms our community and puts us in the crosshairs of micro aggressions as well as physical violence.”
Schroeder’s insensitive comment comes only a week after a juror in this trial was dismissed over another inconsiderate joke. This time, the juror made a joke concerning the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the shooting that ultimately has direct correlation to the Rittenhouse trial. Schroeder summarizes “what he remembers” about the comment the juror made, stating that, “He was telling a joke … he made a reference about telling a joke about ‘Why did it take seven shots to shoot Jacob Blake,’ something to that effect.” Prosecutors argued that the comment alludes to racial bias, and both the defense and prosecution agreed to dismiss the juror. In response to the dismissal of the juror, Schroeder stated that, “It is clear that the appearance to bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case.”
The jury of eight men and 10 women were reduced to 12 by a drawing of names. More on the final status of the case HERE.
A comprehensive report of the continuation and influx of unjustified treatment towards minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
February 23: 25-year-old Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while running unarmed. No arrests were made immediately, but Gregory and Travis McMichael, who claim to have been making a citizen’s arrest, have since been apprehended more than 2 months after the shooting and charged with murder and aggravated assault. The murder and its delayed action have sparked nationwide protests and calls for justice. The lawyer, hired by Ahmaud’s family, was also hired by another African American victim – Breonna Taylor.
March 13: Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her Louisville home after police entered the house on a search warrant. Taylor and her boyfriend believed they were burglars and began firing at the police. The shootout left 26-year-old Taylor dead and her boyfriend, 27, arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend Walker had a criminal record, but Walker had a firearm license.
March 23: A newly released video shows a 68-year-old black Missouri woman by the name of Marvia Gray and her son Derek being forcefully arrested on the floor of a department store on March 23rd. The two were accused falsely of trying to steal a television and were injured when thrown on the floor by police, according to Gray. They were however, arrested for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.
April 11: Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot on Sunday afternoon during a traffic stop. When Wright was pulled over, officers were attempting to handcuff him when the subject broke free and jumped into the driver’s seat. Officer Kim Potter threatened to tase him, yelling “Taser!” three times before shooting Wright. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said, “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.” On Monday evening, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner reported that Wright died due to a gunshot wound to his chest. Potter resigned from the police department on Tuesday, and has now been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter.
April 18: Steven Taylor, 33, was shot to death by police in a California Walmart while attempting to steal from the store and threatening violent acts with a baseball bat. Taylor was fatally shot, however, after becoming a non-threat, it prompted the family to call for charges against the officers. Taylor was also allegedly in a mental health crisis and has a history of disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Taylor leaves behind three children and three siblings.
April 21: A 42-year-old Black man, Andrew Brown Jr., was shot by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies in Elizabethtown just before 8:30 am. A private autopsy conducted by Brown’s family has revealed that he was shot five times, and was killed by a bullet blow to his head. The Pasquotank County sheriff claims that the deputies were conducting an arrest warrant on drug charges when Brown was shot. A local prosecutor claims Brown was trying to escape and had hit deputies with his car. The Brown family lawyer claims that Brown’s hands were on the wheel when he was shot, and says that Brown had no drugs or weapons in his vehicle. The family has not yet seen a search warrant from the Department, and the F.B.I. is opening a civil rights investigation into the case.
A clergy march in Elizabeth honoring Brown will take place on Saturday, May 8 at 11am. The march will be led by Bishop William J. Barber (President of Repairers of the Breach, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival former moderator with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)) II and Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman (an elder with the AME Zion Church and former president of the N.C. Council of Churches), both of whom will lead a march of interfaith and interdenominational clergy. A public rally and news conference will follow the clergy march and begin at 11:30am. Clergy members are to meet at 10:30 am at 299 US Highway 158 N., in front of the old Elizabeth City Middle School. The clergy march is set to lead to the Pasquotank County Courthouse, where the public rally will be held. For more info, please visit this website.
April 24: Austin Police murdered 42-year old Michael Ramos after a nearby 911 call about a possible drug deal. The police shot Ramos when he was out of his car, with his hands above his head. When Ramos re-entered his vehicle and began driving away, he was shot again and soon after, died. A later investigation found no sign of a firearm in the car.
April 28: A shootout with police in Florida killed 26-year-oldJonas Joseph after his car was pulled over. Joseph began firing at police, who returned fire and killed the young man.
May 6: 21-year-old Sean Reed was killed by police following a vehicle pursuit on the evening of May 6, 2020. The police pursued Reed after being seen driving erratically on the highway. The pursuit terminated, but when Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Assistant Chief Chris Bailey spotted the car parked, he approached. Reed tried to flee, but the confrontation left the young man dead. A crowd of protestors at the scene demanded the reasoning for the officer’s use of force.
May 9: 48-year-old Adrian Medeariswas killed after being pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Houston. The officer conducted a sobriety test, and attempted to arrest Medearis, a well-known local Gospel singer and choir director, but he resisted arrest and was fatally shot in the ensuing altercation. His family and community are demanding the release of the video.
May 18: A Sarasota police officer was filmed using excessive force and kneeling on Patrick Carroll’s neck during an arrest. The video was put on social media and the officer in question has been put on administrative leave weeks after the event.
May 25: A woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on Christian Cooper, a Harvard alumnus and former Marvel Comics editor. The 57-year-old man was bird watching in Central Park when she approached him without her dog on the leash. After he asked her to put the dog on a leash, she called the police and claimed to be threatened. The altercation went viral after Christian Cooper posted a video of the event on social media, recording the woman aggressively restraining her dog and her saying, “I’m going to tell them [the police] there’s an African American man threatening my life.” Amy Cooper has since publicly apologized. But, Cooper has faced repercussions beyond negative comments on Twitter. She has been fired from her job at Franklin Templeton Investments, where she was vice president, and her dog has been rescued by a pet shelter.
May 25th: a Minneapolis man named George Floyd was murdered by police after an officer knelt on his neck despite his cries for help. Floyd was taken to a hospital where he died, and four officers were fired soon after the incident. A police statement says that Floyd was being investigated for a “forgery in progress” and resisted arrest. But, surveillance video of the arrest shows Floyd complying with the officers. On May 29th, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder and manslaughter, four days after George Floyd’s death. On June 3rd, the other three officers involved in George Floyd’s murder, J.A. Keung, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, were arrested and charged with Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Murder and Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Manslaughter. Floyd’s murder sparked protests around the country with citizens looting and setting fire to buildings. The protestors have been met with tear gas and rubber bullets from police officers.
May 28: At a protest in Minneapolis, 43-year-old Calvin L. Horton Jr. was fatally shot and a suspect is in custody.
A Mississippi cop is on leave after a video is released of him choking a young suspect.
May 29: CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested while reporting on the protest in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, another CNN reporter, Josh Campbell, says he was treated very differently by police and allowed to stay and report. Jimenez is black and Latino whereas Campbell is white. All three CNN workers were released from custody an hour later.
21-year-old Javar Harrell was not protesting but was fatally shot near protests in Detroit. It is unclear if his death is tied to protests.
May 30: The “Rally To End Modern Day Lynching” took place in Harlem in honor of George Floyd. The rally emphasizes that participants should still practice social distancing and wear a mask. Also on May 30th, participants will honor Floyd at the site of Eric Garner‘s murder in 2014. These New York protests became progressively more violent into the evening. Governor Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency and curfew for Atlanta in preparation for planned protests on May 31st. After four days of protests, Governor Newsom declares a state of emergency in Los Angeles. The courthouse and city hall were set on fire in Nashville.
A 21-year old unnamed man was fatally shot at a protest in Detroit.
In Dallas, a machete-yielding storeowner confronted protesters and was then violently beaten by the crowd; the man is now in stable condition.
Chris Beaty, 38, was killed from multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene in Indianapolis.
May 31: After setting fires and looting in Santa Monica, the city declared a curfew. Curfews have since been set all around the country.
Italia Kelly, 22, and another victim were fatally shot while leaving a protest in Davenport, Iowa.
In Victorville, CA, Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree and authorities are investigating the event as a potential homicide. Harsch’s family says they are very skeptical of his death being by suicide.
June 1: In Minneapolis, a group of men attacked Iyanna Dior, a black transgender woman; Dior is okay and in stable condition now.
53-year-old David McAtee was shot as national Guard troops and Louisville police broke up a protest; some footage shows McAtee shooting at police but it is unclear who fired their guns first because the officers involved did not activate their body cameras. The Louisville Metro Police Chief, Steve Conrad, was immediately fired because of the officers’ unactivated cameras.
16-year-old Jahmel Leach was tased in the face by NYPD and could be permanently disfigured from the attack. It is unclear why the police officers used force to arrest Leach.
June 2: Six Atlanta police officers have been fired and arrested for using excessive force towards Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim, two young black people leaving the protests.
77-year-old David Dorn, a retired St. Louis police captain, was fatally shot by looters of a pawnshop after responding to an alarm.
June 4: At 3:45pm, NAACP holds a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd live on their Twitter.
June 5: All 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department’s emergency response team resigned in protest for police brutality – particularly seen in a video of Buffalo police pushing an unarmed man.
Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigns from the company’s board and urges the company to replace his spot with a black candidate.
In a YouTube video, Robert L. Johnson, the first black American billionaire and co-founder of BET, talks to The Breakfast Club about racism and reparations.
20-year-old Dounya Zayer was violently shoved by a police officer at a protest in Brooklyn, NY.
June 6: Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand pledge $100 million donation over the next 10 years to organizations promoting social justice and racial equality.
A video shows protestors creating a human shield to protect NYPD officers fro rioters throwing objects at the policemen.
June 7: Virginia governor plans to remove Robert E. Lee statue later this week.
CEO of CrossFit Greg Glassman’s insensitive tweet about George Floyd has caused Glassman to face serious backlash. Partners of CrossFit, like Reebok or Rogue Fitness, and athletes, including Brooke Wells and Richard Froning, released statements that they will cut ties with CrossFit.
BLM protestors in Bristol pull down statue of Edward Colton, a slave trader who transported nearly 100,000 slaves in the 17th century.
Harry H. Rogers drove into a group of protestors near Richmond, Virginia. Rogers identifies as the leader of the Ku Klux Klan and prosecutors are investigating the assault as a potential hate crime.
June 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces police reform legislation called The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 which would ban chokeholds, establish a national database to track police misconduct, and more.
Minneapolis City Council announce plans to defund the Minneapolis police department.
GoFundMe suspends Candace Owens’ account saying that Owens, “spread hate, discrimination, intolerance and falsehoods against the black community.”
June 9: Greg Glassman, the CEO and founder of CrossFit, retires after his inappropriate tweet about George Floyd’s murder.
New York Police Chief Mike O’Meara shames the press for vilifying police officers in a video here.
June 10: In Palmdale, CA, 24-year-old black man named Robert Fuller, was found hanging from a tree in what was originally described as an apparent suicide. Citizens are demanding that Fuller’s death is investigated as a homicide.
June 11: After Trump’s comments about Seattle protestors being “domestic terrorists” and that law enforcement must “dominate the streets” to “take back Seattle,” Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan clarifies that the protestors are not threatening and that the president’s claims are unconstitutional.
June 12: Atlanta police fatally shot Rayshard Brooks, 27, at a Wendy’s drive-thru. Brooks’ murder caused Atlanta police chief Erika Shields to resign.
The officer who shot Brooks was Garrett Rolfe. Rolfe was terminated from his job one day after the shooting, but as of Wednesday, he was reinstated to his position. Atlanta’s Civil Service Board reinstated the officer because they found that Rolfe’s firing violated his due process rights. It is not being argued whether the shooting was justified, but rather if the proper firing procedures had been followed regarding the officer’s dismissal. At a board hearing on April 22, lawyer Allegra Lawrence-Hardy argues that “immediate dismal” of an employee “impairs the effectiveness of others.” However, despite being reinstated, Rolfe will remain on administrative leave until his murder and aggravated assault charges regarding the June 12 shooting are resolved.
June 13: Patrick Hutchinson, a black personal trainer from London, rescued ‘far-right’ protester who was badly beaten during protest clashes in London.
A young, black FedEx driver named Brandon Brackins turned to social media to tell his followers how he was called racial slurs while working.
June 16: A story resurfaces from 2006 when black, Buffalo, NY cop Cariol Horne was fired for stopping her white colleague from choking a handcuffed suspect.
Philadelphia court supervisor Michael Henkel is fired after video shows him tearing down BLM signs.
June 17: Quaker Oats plans to retire their Aunt Jemima branding and logo after acknowledging the racial stereotyping.
June 18: A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy fatally shot 18-year-old Andres Guardado.
June 20: Rioters storm the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma during President Trump’s rally.
June 21: A NYPD officer is on unpaid suspension after a chokehold incident in Queens.
June 22: Department of Justice is investigating a noose found in Bubba Wallace‘s NASCAR garage. Wallace is the only black driver in NASCAR’s top circuit. On June 23, the FBI determines that Wallace was not the target of a hate crime.
August 23: Jacob Blake is shot by Kenosha police officers after breaking up a nearby fight that two other women were having. Blake was unarmed and shot seven times in the back. He is currently hospitalized for his injuries.
December 5: Lt. Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, is suing two of the Town of Windsor police officers who conducted his traffic stop. Nazario is a Black and Latino man who was pulled over whilst wearing his uniform. He is requesting at least $1 million in damage costs and is looking for the court to rule that the officers violated his human rights, especially regarding the Fourth Amendment. He was pulled over by Officer Daniel Crocker and Joe Gutierrez, who exercised knee-strikes, deployed OC spray, and took the Nazario’s gun in what his attorney, Jonathan Arthur, classifies as an illegal search. In body camera footage, Gutierrez can be overheard telling Nazario that if he had just complied, he would have “been gone by now” and threatened that the charges against Nazario could impact his career in the army, if Nazario complained about the incident. By threatening Nazario’s career, his attorney says that Crocker and Gutierrez violated the subject’s First Amendment Rights.
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Los Angeles residents continue their demand for racial equality
Breonna Taylor, a Louisville EMT, would have turned 27 years old on June 5th. Instead, on March 13th, Ms. Taylor was shot 8 times while asleep after police officers entered her home without knocking. The young woman was not forgotten at Friday evening’s LA protest. The administrators of the march passionately expressed how this case of police brutality is emblematic of the chronic racial inequality which has defined the US criminal justice system since the nation’s conception.
The atmosphere of the march was boisterous. The Five Stairsteps’ “O-o-h Child” played at the event and defined the hope for a better future omnipresent with lines like, “things are gonna get easier… things are gonna get brighter.” Protestors fed off each others’ energies with chants of “No Justice, No Peace,” “Whose streets? Our streets,” mixed with an eclectic concoction of cheers. Indeed, the emphatic beeps of car horns, the banging of pots and pans from apartments above the street, and a sea of signs created a powerful spirit that, in the moment, felt indomitable.
One of the most inspiring aspects of the protest was the mélange of ethnicities in attendance. The multicolored faces of the crowds formed a microcosm of America – a new America. This diverse movement circled downtown Los Angeles, walking past boarded-up businesses that still bore the scars of previous nights. Much to the credit of the protest’s organizers, they were determined to reject the vandalism that had wounded the essence of the movement’s message earlier in the week. They wished to emulate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s tactics of non-violence, aspiring to make progress in King’s fight that must still advocated for.
At several points throughout the protest attendees were asked to take a knee. The profound purpose of this act was revealed at the conclusion of the event. “It’s uncomfortable isn’t it?” asked one protest organizer stuttering on her own passion, “Well imagine what it felt like for George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds!” Her vehemence echoed throughout the crowd as applause ruptured the silence of intent listening.
As the California sun dipped below the horizon, thousands ascended upon City Hall where a vanguard of LAPD lined the entrance. The protestors were nourished by a plethora of free snacks provided by supportive local vendors. The march culminated with a moving tribute to Ms. Taylor on the steps of City Hall. Here, the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to yet another martyr of the African American community in what appears to be an endless struggle for equality. Stories like Breonna Taylor’s tell a hauntingly familiar tale of racism in our country, and these injustices haven’t ceased during quarantine. The 360 Magazine “Minority Report” details all of the acts of racial inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The crowd was rife with enthusiasm for change but there was also a portentous understanding that this is not the last march for justice. However, the prevailing attitude was one of passion in hope that, despite the brutality of US history, America has finally reached a social crescendo free of the injustice that has characterized the country’s nascence.
So, what does all this mean? Well, the protestors and organizers were eager to proclaim a sizeable achievement they have garnered thanks to this movement. One of which is LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s revision of the proposed city budget. In this revision, $150 million from the LAPD will be diverted towards healthcare, jobs, and education opportunities in communities of color. It is unclear whether stripping funds from the police will make the streets safer for people of color, yet protestors saw this as a victory for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The push to reduce police power will undoubtedly clash with President Trump’s call for “law and order.” Trump’s adoption of the infamous Nixonian verbiage and allusions to “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” has inflamed tensions in Los Angeles. In general, the president’s responses to BLM movements have done little to soothe California’s most populous city. A city, that only 28 years ago, was the epicenter of mayhem after a jury acquitted four police officers of using excessive force against black LA resident Rodney King. Thus, almost 30 years after the Rodney King riots and 50 years after the civil rights movement, one is still left wondering: do Americans trust law enforcement?
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