Kyle Rittenhouse is back in Wisconsin, where he faces two charges of first-degree intentional homicide and a count of attempted homicide.
But there are questions that go beyond whether Rittenhouse is guilty of killing two people on Aug. 26, a night of unrest in downtown Kenosha, Wis., following the shooting of a Black man by a Kenosha police officer.
Those questions pertain to the actions, or inaction, by law enforcement officers that night.
About 15 minutes before Rittenhouse allegedly shot three people, killing two of them, there is video footage of law officers giving water bottles to Rittenhouse.
Not only did they give this armed teenager water, they then told him: “We appreciate you guys, we really do.”
Then, over a loudspeaker, law officers in that same area yell at a different group: “You’re going to have to get out of there. This is the last warning. You’re going to have to move south or you’re going to have to get out of this block. This is the last warning. You will disperse.”
After the burning of buildings in Kenosha the two preceding nights, it was necessary for law enforcement to have an increased presence in the area. The officers were supposed to be there to protect the community.
Unfortunately, by showing favoritism to Rittenhouse and a group of armed men, they ended up doing the opposite, and as a result two people died. It doesn’t stop there; after the shootings, there is video of Rittenhouse approaching officers with his arms in the air, appearing ready to turn himself in. Instead of arresting him, the officers let him walk right on by.
In a news conference after the shooting, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth initially defended law enforcement officers’ actions, saying police “would toss a water to anybody.”
Additionally, Beth said, moments after the shots were fired, there was likely a lot of radio chatter, and there were many people shouting and running in Kenosha’s streets, which Beth said may have allowed Rittenhouse to go unnoticed by officers with limited visibility sitting inside Bearcat armored vehicles.
The officers involved need to be questioned. Why did they give water to a group of armed men, then yell at a group of protesters to leave? If they were really there protecting property, they should have been telling everyone to leave the area, not just one group.
And why did they let an armed teen with his arms up in the air get away after a shooting?
Those questions still need to be answered, and the public deserves to know the outcome of the investigation.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN RACINE (WIS.) JOURNAL TIMES