KENOSHA, WIS. — The family of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen who shot three people during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year, is staying “upbeat” as the trial moves into its fourth day Thursday.
“I think it’s going well. I think a lot of truths are coming out right now,” Dave Hancock, who is serving as the Rittenhouse family’s media liaison, told The Daily Wire at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Wednesday.
“They’re staying upbeat. They’re doing well. It’s obviously stressful, especially reliving that for Kyle, but they’re doing okay,” Hancock said.
Rittenhouse’s mother and both of his sisters came for the first day of the trial on Monday, and his mother and one of his sisters were present on Wednesday.
Rittenhouse is charged with five felonies and a misdemeanor. He has pled not guilty to charges of homicide and attempted homicide as well as unlawful possession of a firearm. His attorneys are arguing that he shot in self-defense.
The teen, now 18, took a gun police say his friend illegally bought for him and traveled from his northern Chicago suburb to Kenosha on August 25 of last year when he was 17 with the aim of defending businesses from looting and vandalism. The city had devolved into rioting over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white Kenosha police officer.
Rittenhouse armed himself with a Smith & Wesson M&P15, which is an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, as well as a medical kit.
Videos played for the jury on Wednesday showed Rittenhouse being accosted and chased by protesters as he patrolled the downtown Kenosha area. After someone else fired an initial gunshot, Rittenhouse opened fire and fatally shot one man who appeared in the footage to be chasing and gaining on him. Shortly afterward, Rittenhouse tripped and fell as he was running away from protesters, and while still on the ground, he fired several more shots that killed a second man and injured a third. Rittenhouse and the three men he shot are all white.
Hancock said Rittenhouse’s family remains firm in their conviction that he fired to defend himself.
“This is pure, unadulterated self-defense,” Hancock said. “Everything else that the media have been reporting for the past year is noise.”
He went on to claim that many of the rumors swirling around Rittenhouse are unfounded.
“He was accused of being a white supremacist, of being in a militia, of answering a call to arms. None of that was true from the very beginning,” he said. “But it didn’t stop the media from perpetuating the same sorry story about him being associated with some extremist group. It’s just factually untrue.”
Hancock also asserted that Rittenhouse was charged “without any meaningful investigation in the first place.”
“Had they done a meaningful investigation I believe that we wouldn’t be sitting in this courtroom right now,” he said.
During Wednesday’s trial, the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, clashed with Judge Bruce Schroeder over video evidence the prosecution wanted to play for the jury.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys objected that the person who took one of the videos of events leading up to the shooting was editorializing in his narration. The judge argued with the prosecution for several minutes before deciding that the video could be played but must be muted for most of the time.
Hancock called the move to include the audio “par for the course” for the prosecutor “since day one of the charges.”
“The comfort that we have is we know Kyle. And we know what he was doing, what kind of kid he actually is,” Hancock said.