The attorneys representing Kyle Rittenhouse released a lengthy statement on Saturday defending the 17-year-old from the list of criminal charges against him.
Rittenhouse is accused of killing two protesters and wounding a third. The incident happened on Aug. 25, the third night of the Kenosha riots. Violence erupted in the southern Wisconsin city after police shot Jacob Blake, a black man, last Sunday.
Rittenhouse has been charged with multiple felonies, including: one count of first-degree reckless homicide, one count of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, as well as charges of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree recklessly endangering safety, and possession of a dangerous weapon.
However, as TheBlaze reported, the criminal complaint against Rittenhouse reads as though he acted in self-defense.
What did the attorneys say?
The attorneys, from the law firm of Pierce Bainbridge, did not mince words — they said Rittenhouse is innocent of the charges against him on the grounds of self-defense.
"Kyle did nothing wrong. He exercised his God-given, Constitutional, common law and statutory law right to self-defense," they said.
Their version of events appear to align with video evidence. They said Rittenhouse was in Kenosha to protect businesses and render medical aid when needed, and that he only discharged his rifle because he was being attacked.
In fact, according to the attorneys, Rittenhouse even attempted to render medical aid to Joseph Rosenbaum after shooting him, but had to flee the scene "for his safety and his survival." Video evidence shows that Rosenbaum was pursing Rittenhouse before being shot.
The attorneys explained:
As Kyle proceeded towards the second mechanic's shop, he was accosted by multiple rioters who recognized that he had been attempting to protect a business the mob wanted to destroy. This outraged the rioters and created a mob now determined to hurt Kyle. They began chasing him down. Kyle attempted to get away, but he could not do so quickly enough. Upon the sound of a gunshot behind him, Kyle turned and was immediately faced with an attacker lunging towards him and reaching for his rifle. He reacted instantaneously and justifiably with his weapon to protect himself, firing and striking the attacker.
Kyle stopped to ensure care for the wounded attacker but faced a growing mob gesturing towards him. He realized he needed to flee for his safety and his survival. Another attacker struck Kyle from behind as he fled down the street. Kyle turned as the mob pressed in on him and he fell to the ground. One attacker kicked Kyle on the ground while he was on the ground. Yet another bashed him over the head with a skateboard. Several rioters tried to disarm Kyle. In fear for his life and concerned the crowd would either continue to shoot at him or even use his own weapon against him, Kyle had no choice but to fire multiple rounds towards his immediate attackers, striking two, including one armed attacker. The rest of the mob began to disperse upon hearing the additional gunshots.
The attorneys went on to explain that Rittenhouse attempted to turn himself in to police, but they were concerned with the "wounded attackers," and instructed Rittenhouse to leave the scene.
The attorneys then turned their attention toward Kenosha prosecutors, whom they alleged "did not engage in any meaningful analysis of the facts, or any in-depth review of available video footage."
"[T]his was not a serious investigation," they continued. "Rather, after learning Kyle may have had conservative political viewpoints, they immediately saw him as a convenient target who they could use as a scapegoat to distract from the Jacob Blake shooting and the government's abject failure to ensure basic law and order to citizens. Within 24-36 hours, he was charged with multiple homicide counts."
You can read the full attorney statement here.
What does video evidence show?
One angle, showing the moments before Rittenhouse fired his rifle at Rosenbaum, confirms Rosenbaum was in full pursuit of Rittenhouse. The video then shows Rosenbaum throw an object at Rittenhouse before one shot rings out. A New York Times analysis discovered that the first shot did not come from Rittenhouse, but from another person armed with a handgun.
The video then shows Rosenbaum lunge toward Rittenhouse. That's when the teenager opens fire on Rosenbaum, discharging four rounds.
Approximately 30 seconds later, the video shows Rittenhouse sprinting from the scene. The man who filmed the incident is then heard instructing other protesters to "cranium that boy," highlighting the hostile and violent nature of the demonstrators.