Kenosha business owners prepare for Rittenhouse verdict

The Donlon Report

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Businesses and residents in Kenosha, Wisconsin are preparing for the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial.

The defense rested Thursday, one day after 18-year-old Rittenhouse took the stand and defense attorneys called for a mistrial over the prosecution’s line of questioning.

Rittenhouse told the jury he was defending himself from attack and had no choice when he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a tumultuous night of protests against racial injustice in the summer of 2020.

Scott Carpenter, owner of B&L Office Furniture in Kenosha, has been in business for 40 years. He says he hopes the verdict won’t lead to civil unrest and violence, but he doesn’t rule it out.

“It’s a possibility. It definitely could happen, Carpenter said on “The Donlon Report.” “I hope that it doesn’t happen.”

Last year, Carpenter’s business was burned down to the ground following the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer.

“When I think back to it, it was a very scary scene going downtown where our business was and in the crowds of people that were just going by, like, as if it was like a tourist city and it was just devastation. It was really scary.”

Since then, Carpenter has relocated to a new location. He said while there is some uneasiness throughout the summer, the city is rebuilding and is slowly coming back to normal.

“Businesses coming back, obviously, you got that dark cloud of COVID hanging over our heads … people at home. But, you know, there’s a lot of small businesses in Kenosha, and there’s not a lot of big business and a lot of self-proprietorship, and we’re making it work.”

Carpenter also said everyone in the community has been following the trial. He said many are just ready for the outcome.

“There’s a lot of people talking about it,” he said. “Business owners, it’s a big conversation. A lot of people on the fence … nobody really knows what to expect, or really what side to take with it, and just want to see what’s going to happen next.”

Carpenter believes that the city can eventually come back from this and that people can work together to resolve these types of issues.

“There are better ways of doing things than burning down people’s towns and neighborhoods and shooting one another.”

Closing arguments in the trial will take place Monday. Rittenhouse could get life in prison if convicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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