Dec. 3, 2020 at 7:19 p.m. EST
Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager charged with fatally shooting two people during a summer protest in Kenosha, Wis., is to stand trial following a court’s rejection Thursday of a motion to dismiss two charges against him. Rittenhouse appeared by video link with an attorney during an hour-long preliminary hearing Thursday, which previewed his self-defense case against charges including homicide and attempted homicide. Rittenhouse’s legal team had filed motions to dismiss the charge of possession of a deadly weapon by a minor and one of two charges of reckless endangerment. Kenosha County Court Commissioner Loren Keating ruled that both charges would stand. Rittenhouse’s arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 5. The 17-year-old, who has become a cause celebre of the far right, was released from jail Nov. 20 after posting a $2 million cash bail, an amount raised primarily by conservative figures and groups. He is in an undisclosed location with his family. Some supporters calling to “free Kyle” stood outside the Kenosha County courthouse during the hearing, according to local news reporters. During the hearing Thursday, defense attorney Mark Richards sought to show that his client had fired his weapon in self-defense, presenting multiple video stills and photographs of people who he said had posed a threat to Rittenhouse during the Aug. 25 protest where the shootings occurred. One photo showed a person Richards called “jump-kick man,” who the lawyer said had knocked Rittenhouse to the ground after a foot chase following the first shooting. The man has not been identified. Another showed Anthony Huber, 26, approaching the teenager while holding a skateboard. Rittenhouse opened fire that night, killing Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, 26. Richards presented Rosenbaum as the guilty party, showing a photo of his body barechested with a shirt covering his face and noting that committing a crime while masked in Wisconsin is itself a crime. “The state is trying to put forth a one-sided, stilted view of what happened to protect someone who does not deserve the protection of the state,” Richards said, calling Rosenbaum “a masked robber.” Richards also showed a photograph of Joshua Ziminski, 35, who he suggested started the violence when he “fired his gun while Rosenbaum was chasing” Rittenhouse. Ziminiski has been charged with one count of disorderly conduct with use of a dangerous weapon. Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger rejected the argument, saying that Richards was trying to cloud a probable-cause argument by introducing “a cast of characters” who were among “hundreds of people there that night.” “We’re talking about individuals who have nothing to do with” Rittenhouse’s felony charges, Binger said. Rittenhouse’s legal team tried to have the judge dismiss the charge of possession of a deadly weapon by a minor by noting that subsets of the statute are related to hunting and involve short-barrel weaponry. Rittenhouse was seen carrying an AR-15, which is a long gun. Binger said the point was moot because he wasn’t alleging that Rittenhouse was not complying with hunting regulations. “This was hunting humans, not deer,” he said. “It wasn’t hunting season. This wasn’t a case where a kid went up north with his dad to hunt deer,” Binger said. “This was a situation in which a teenager went running around the streets of Kenosha after curfew with a very dangerous weapon. This is exactly why we have this law, because teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to run around with dangerous weapons, because bad things happen.”
‘Supreme commander’ of so-called Black militia accused of pointing rifle at cops during Louisville protest By NELSON OLIVEIRA NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | DEC 03, 2020 AT 5:10 PM The leader of a self-described Black militia was busted on federal charges Thursday after authorities said he was caught on camera pointing a rifle at officers during a summer protest in Louisville. John Johnson, who’s also known as “Grandmaster Jay,” was part of a group of armed protesters who gathered in the city’s Jefferson Square Park on Sept. 4 for what turned out to be a tense night of demonstrations. Some of the officers who were conducting surveillance from a roof in the area were “blinded by a light” that was later found to be a flashlight mounted to the suspect’s “AR platform style rifle,” according to the FBI. John Johnson points gun at officers in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sept. 4, 2020. (FBI) “All officers advised they were concerned Johnson might intentionally, or even accidentally, discharge a round at them,” the agency’s Louisville division said in a statement to the Daily News. Surveillance images released Thursday show Johnson aiming his gun at a building. The suspect did not fire the weapon, but authorities said his actions put officers’ lives at risk. The man calls himself the “supreme commander” of an all-Black group known as NFAC, or Not F---ing Around Coalition, a self-proclaimed militia with hundreds of members. The Ohio resident is also popular on YouTube, where his channel has more than 50,000 subscribers. Authorities said Johnson knew exactly who he was pointing his rifle at because at least two officers with the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department were wearing body armor with a semi-reflective placard clearly identifying them, according to the FBI. None of the officers had drawn their handguns and only one had a rifle that night, though he did not point it at Johnson or any of the NFAC members at the scene, the agency said. The criminal complaint says the suspect “forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded, intimidated, and interfered with federally deputized task force officers” when he aimed a rifle at them. The charge is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. John Johnson (Oldham County Jail, Kentucky) “The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights,” FBI Special Agent in Charge James Robert Brown, Jr. said in a statement. “Our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution is dual and simultaneous, not contradictory,” he said. “Accordingly, we are committed to investigating violent behavior and those who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law.”
Johnson was being held without bond Thursday at the Oldham County Jail.