Kyle Rittenhouse: There was never a real trial
Judge Bruce Schoeder’s joke of a ‘trial’ confirms one thing: Racist white people want other white people to mind their business
I saw a new message pop up from one of my clients: “WTF regarding Rittenhouse :( My mouth is on the floor.” I wasn’t sure what this client was talking about. I’d walked my dog an hour before and immediately logged in for a virtual conference afterward. I hadn’t been watching the news. But judging from who sent the message to me, I guessed the verdict.
I can’t remember the last year someone black said to me in person, via email or phone that they they were shocked by the results of an incident like this. I’ve yet to get a message from any of my black clients. Our mouths are rarely if ever on the floor when it comes to cases like these. It’s not that we want the results that were handed down today. For some people, this is a memorable day of injustice in American history. For black folks, it’s simply Friday.
And this Friday, Nov. 19, Kyle Rittenhouse was declared innocent of all five charges:
Count 1: First-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 2: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 3: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 4: First-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 5: Attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a weapon
I would’ve been dumbfounded if Rittenhouse was found guilty of one of them. I’m still started by James Alex Fields being found guilty in 2018 of running over and killing Heather Heyer with his car, after plowing into a group of counterprotesters in 2017 at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charged with 30 hate crimes, first-degree murder and five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, he was sentenced to 419 years and a fine — and denied an appeal case.
Meanwhile I’m left wondering what’s the difference between Rittenhouse and Fields. They both showed up to a protest that neither had any business attending. While Politifact confirms that Rittenhouse left his Illinois home for Kenosha, Wisconsin without a weapon (or at least not one that was found), he did show up to a Black Lives Matter protest with “a Wisconsin friend” — after getting an AR-15 from the friend’s stepfather.
Rittenhouse used his gun to first shoot unarmed 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum; then 26-year-old skateboarder Anthony Huber (who knew Jacob Blake); and then wounding 27-year-old medic Gaige Grosskreutz, who had a Glock handgun. And once again, with this not guilty verdict, America shows off its historical and unapologetic pattern of being pro-guns. Apparently shooting people is all right — just stay out of your car. Vehicles are dangerous!
Schroeder’s shenanigans: The clown show disguised as a trial
It never occurred to me that this would be a fair trial. Rittenhouse wouldn’t disclose his physical address this entire time while he — the person who murdered and/or shot three people — hid out because he feared for his own safety. And the criminal justice system was just cool with it.
Recommended Read: “Kyle Rittenhouse moved to find safer home, Elijah McClain killed near home ~ How many more examples of racism in the criminal justice system do you need?”
But even when the public is at odds with the attorneys, one hopes that the judge can be the unbiased mediator. Not so much with this trial. Anytime someone who claims to be a judge (aka Bruce Schroeder) does any of the following, it’s going to be a joke of a trial. This clown show included the following from Schroeder:
He dismissed the misdemeanor gun charge against Rittenhouse.
He banned use of the word “victim” for the three men who were victims of gun violence, two of which are dead.
He was worried about how “frightening” live coverage would be for murderer Rittenhouse.
He rambled on about “Asian” food and boat deliveries (as though there aren’t 48 countries in the continent). Microaggressions in its finest hour.
He only allowed 20 minutes for a pinch-to-Zoom text message recovery (and shared his woes of “saving text messages”).
He encouraged a round of applause for veterans during the trial (on Veteran’s Day and conveniently helpful for use-of-force expert John Black, who was testifying in support of Rittenhouse).
He broke out singing “Autumn Leaves” to the jury.
He allowed Rittenhouse to pick six of his own jurors.
While reading 36 pages of jury instructions that the judge claimed were “very confusing,” the prosecutor had to remind Schroeder “that’s not the law” after the judge decided to wing it on interpreting the instructions.
I’ve been a juror for two trials — one in which I wasn’t even in the main 12 seats. I just had to sit and listen in case the others didn’t work out. The second one was less than a day. Both were car accidents. And at no point and time did I see the defendant get up and pull names out of a drum. In fact, I was drilled with so many questions for both cases to the point where you would’ve thought this was the Amber Guyger trial. My judges were noticeably passionate about a fair trial. But from Schroeder’s behavior, I expected him to demand that the jury take no more than 67 minutes to deliberate, with a pause to drink pop, before coming to a decision.
Recommended Read: “The trial that I recalled from #TalkAboutBias ~ Why I’ll never complain about jury duty notices”
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Proud Boys, MAGA and the Blue Lives Matter supporters (who only seem to care about blue lives when it’s not about January 6, 2021) will be celebrating. Schroeder sent a clear message — it’s OK to shoot and kill anyone — including these three white men — if they dare to be supportive of anti-hate groups such as Black Lives Matter. As with Quakers and white Civil Rights Movement supporters, these n-word lovers need to be put in their place. This case confirms that white people can get away with shooting other white people, especially those who have the audacity to be opposed to police violence.
Recommended Read: “In WTF Capitol Riot news ~ Thank goodness he saved us from the muffin thief”
The August 25, 2020 protest may have been intended for people of all races to come out onto Kenosha, Wisconsin streets to protest police brutality. But it was overshadowed by an 18-year-old going way out of his way to George Zimmerman the situation and decide he wanted to be the police — while walking by the real police fully armed and returned home.
What Rittenhouse and Schroeder proved today was a dog whistle to white people. If you show up, if you try to be an ally and if you dare go out and help “those people,” then there will be consequences for your actions. Will this scare non-black people back into the house? Or, will they continue to protest and support regardless of cases like this — knowing they’re playing Russian Roulette with a Rittenhouse or a Fields popping up? Minority groups are used to being backed against a wall and the criminal justice system being a little funky. We will shrug and continue on. But for those who aren’t used to a Rittenhouse or a Fields, only time will tell whether they still think it’s worth it.
Did you enjoy this post? You’re also welcome to check out her Substack columns “Black Girl In a Doggone World,” “Homegrown Tales,” “I Do See Color” and “Window Shopping” too. Join Shamontiel as a paid Medium member, and subscribe to her free weekly newsletter.
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