The ongoing criminal trial against the teen facing felony charges related to a shooting during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has already generated significant controversy.
Pundits take sides
As defense attorneys argue, Rittenhouse was armed with a rifle and fired in self-defense after he was attacked by multiple protesters.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, is now facing charges of reckless homicide and criminal endangerment.
Many in the mainstream media have consistently portrayed him as an aggressor who deserves decades — or a lifetime — behind bars. The underlying facts of the case meant his trial was politicized from the beginning.
Video footage available from the start appeared to back up Rittenhouse’s claim that he was the one who was initially attacked.
Nevertheless, prosecutors continue to present a case against him, though recent developments signal that the tides might be turning in the defendant’s favor.
Jurors under pressure
Cortez Rice, the nephew of George Floyd, recently asserted that the jurors in the case faced threats after their identities were released. The courtroom has subsequently implemented new safeguards meant to protect members of the jury.
In the end, jurors are called upon to cast a vote based on the facts presented during the trial. If they interpret the video evidence as a convincing defense against Rittenhouse’s use of deadly force, it might not be long before he is cleared of the charges against him.
Anything short of a conviction on all counts, however, is likely to spark renewed protesting, if not civil unrest. On the other hand, if he is convicted, it could open the door for further restrictions on an individual’s right to self-defense.
In any case, threats to the men and women serving on the jury should never be tolerated and bullying tactics should never be used to sway the outcome of a trial.