Rittenhouse trial: Looking back at protests before shooting

Midwest

KENOSHA, Wis. (NewsNation Now) — Jury deliberations have wrapped up for the second day in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial without reaching a verdict. The case stems from Rittenhouse’s actions in the wake of protests related to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Blake, 29, was shot seven times at close range by a white police officer Aug. 23, 2020. He was shot four times in the back, and three times in his side by Kenosha police Officer Rusten Sheskey, who was responding to a domestic disturbance call involving Blake.

His father, Jacob Blake Sr., now travels with the family members of others who have been shot by police.

“We’ve gone through the same thing over and over again … with a lot of different cases,” Blake Sr.said. “You know … it came at a time and the world took notice to what was going on.”

Sheskey was ultimately cleared of the shooting. Federal prosecutors say Sheskey was acting in self-defense because Blake ignored orders by police and had a knife. Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down.

The shooting sparked massive, sometimes violent protests, erupting in property damage, and chaos in the streets.

“I’m tired of Black people being shot. I’m just tired of it,” said one protester.

“I think it’s too early to really talk about … there’s still a lot of investigating going on around that,” said one woman in Kenosha.

Police in riot gear and 200 members of the Wisconsin National Guard were deployed after protests over Blake’s shooting turned violent. Kenosha County declared a State of Emergency after several local businesses were set on fire. Former President Donald Trump and presidential candidate Joe Biden both made appearances to the city.

The protest went on for weeks and among law enforcement were armed militia groups — including 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who roamed the streets. Rittenhouse, carrying an AR-style semiautomatic rifle, shot three protesters, killing two and wounding a third during the demonstrations.

Was he an armed vigilante out past curfew carrying an illegal firearm, or a good Samaritan firing in self-defense? It’s now up to the jury to decide.

The jurors are considering five felony charges against Rittenhouse.

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