Image: Sean Krajacic | Kenosha News
A breakdown of what happened that night, who Kyle Rittenhouse is, and how people on Twitter are responding.

Currently, 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse from Illinois is on trial for the shootings of three men, two of which have since died, in August 2021. This occurred during the protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin after police officer Rustin Sheskey wounded Jacob Blake after shooting him. Already, there was a lot of tension between Black Americans and police officers due to the killing of George Floyd. After the incident occurring with Sheskey was caught on video, there was widespread looting and property destruction, just as other states experienced previously.

What happened that night?

Though Rittenhouse lived in Illinois with his mom at the time, his father lived in the city. On Facebook, there were groups organized by citizens who promised to protect the city by assisting the police. On the third night of the protests, Rittenhouse joined one of these Facebook groups of armed men wanting to join the police or national guard, believing they were outnumbered. By late evening, most protestors had left, though there were a few protestors who argued with other people claiming to stay there to protect the city. According to Kenosha County Sheriff  David Beth, there were people who many believed to be in a vigilante group who had patrolled the streets that night, with videos confirming that Rittenhouse was alongside these groups.

In an interview with The Daily Caller before the shooting, Rittenhouse explained that his intentions were to help people, and that is why he was armed. He notes that “If there is somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle — because I can protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit.”

In a video captured on social media, which will not be included, gunshots are heard and a man was later found with a gunshot to the head. In a separate scene, protestors then followed Rittenhouse, asking why he shot him. Another video shows Rittenhouse firing into the crowd, where a man was shot in the arm and another man was seen not moving before he was carried away. Other photos also captured a man kicking Rittenhouse while another man, holding a skateboard, appears to try to grab the weapon. The man holding a skateboard was later identified as the man unmoving in the video. According to NBC Chicago, a witness, Julio Rosas said “two people jumped onto him and there was a struggle for control of his rifle. At that point during the struggle, he just began to fire multiple rounds and that dispersed people near him.”

The aftermath of the shooting 

Authorities then confirmed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, were killed. A protestor, Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, was injured from the shooting. Huber was the one holding the skateboard, while Grosskreutz was armed. Rittenhouse then walked to the police with his hands in the air but was not arrested. Now, he faces multiple charges. He is charged with one count of reckless homicide, one count of intentional homicide, and one count of attempted intentional homicide.

During the trial, Rittenhouse and his attorney maintain that he acted in self-defense. At one point in his trial, he took the stand and eventually broke into tears, where he explained that he did not do anything wrong and was only defending himself. The lead prosecutor, however, argued that witnesses claimed to see Rittenhouse raise his gun to others in the crowd throughout the night. Now, closing arguments occurred Monday, where the jury returned this morning.

Motion for mistrial

Though the trial concluded Monday, and many are now waiting for the verdict from the jury, many on Twitter began to ask for a mistrial, so much so that “mistrial” began to trend. In court, Rittenhouse’s lawyers had noted they planned on asking for a mistrial and filed on Monday for a mistrial with prejudice. They accused the district attorney of acting in “bad faith” and asked Judge Schroeder to grant the mistrial. If this were to be granted, the prosecutors would be unable to refile the charges against Rittenhouse.

As to be expected, this case has highlighted partisan disagreement, specifically between Conservatives or Liberals. Many liberals argued that  Rittenhouse took it upon himself to be a cop, and Conservatives have argued he is a hero and defended the town. Some Conservatives believe that jurors are afraid to rule Rittenhouse not guilty from fear, further encouraging the belief he should be granted a mistrial with prejudice. This spread of information, which has not been confirmed, creates a distraction from the trial’s facts.

One example of these rumors is from Jacek Posobiec, who said that two jurors were holding the decision up due to backlash, and wrote that it was from the US Marshal in Kenosha. However, many pointed out that the US Marshal would not have this type of information, and that he was lying deliberately.

Tensions are incredibly high as many await the jury’s verdict or the decision from the judge regarding the grant of a mistrial with prejudice.