Judge precludes prosecutors from referring to men shot by Rittenhouse as ‘victims’

Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teen accused of killing two individuals and injuring a third during a violent protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year, is set to face trial on related charges.

During a pre-trial hearing this week, a judge ruled that prosecutors may not refer to the men he fatally shot as victims.

Judge imposes controversial restrictions

Demonstrations erupted in August 2020 following the police shooting of Jacob Blake and then-17-year-old Rittenhouse claimed that he was acting in self-defense when he fired the shots that left two individuals dead.

As Fox News reported, Judge Bruce Schroeder stressed on Monday that “victims” is a “loaded” term that may not be used to reference any of the three men Rittenhouse is accused of shooting.

The judge approved the use of terms including “rioters,” “looters,” or “arsonists” by defense attorneys — provided they are able to present evidence that the men were engaged in such activity.

Furthermore, Schroeder said he would allow Rittenhouse’s attorneys to call on use-of-force expert John Black to testify as long as he sticks to the timeline of events and does not attempt to explore the defendant’s state of mind or whether the alleged actions were justified.

The judge vetoed a request by Assistant District Attorney Thomas Blinger to prevent any footage from being shown during the trial of police officers thanking Rittenhouse for being on the street on the night of the shooting.

“An argument for relevance”

“This is a case about what the defendant did that night,” the prosecutor argued. “I’m concerned this will be turned into a trial about what law enforcement did or didn’t do that night.”

Schroeder disagreed, however, asserting: “If the jury is being told, if the defendant is walking down the sidewalk and doing what he claims he was hired to do and police say, ‘Good thing you’re here,’ is that something influencing the defendant and emboldening him in his behavior? That would be an argument for relevance.”

Although Rittenhouse has become somewhat of a folk hero in some right-wing circles, his alleged actions have been widely condemned by progressive pundits, some of whom expressed outrage over the judge’s recent determinations.

Some Twitter users went so far as to encourage activists to contact Schroeder directly while others opted to mock him and lodge accusations of racism.

“Extremist shouldn’t be sitting in a judge seat,” one person wrote. “I don’t recall the VICTIMS being convicted of rioting by a jury of their peers.”

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