What charges does Kyle Rittenhouse face?

Midwest

Kyle Rittenhouse listens as the his attorneys speak to the judge during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2021. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Opening statements began Tuesday in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot three men, killing two of them and wounding the third, during a protest against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. Rittenhouse has argued he fired in self-defense after the men attacked him. Here’s a look at the charges:

FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESS HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON

This felony charge is connected to the death of Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man Rittenhouse shot. Bystander video shows Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse through a parking lot and throwing a plastic bag at him. Rittenhouse flees behind a car and Rosenbaum follows. No video of the moment Rittenhouse pulled the trigger has surfaced yet, if any exists. Richard McGinnis, a reporter who was trailing Rittenhouse, told investigators that Rosenbaum tried to grab Rittenhouse’s gun, according to the criminal complaint.

Reckless homicide differs from intentional homicide in that prosecutors aren’t alleging Rittenhouse intended to murder Rosenbaum. Instead, they’re alleging Rittenhouse caused Rosenbaum’s death by showing an utter disregard for human life.

Former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher said prosecutors’ decision to charge reckless instead of intentional homicide shows they don’t know what happened between Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum and what might have been going through Rittenhouse’s mind when he pulled the trigger.

The charge is a felony punishable by up to 60 years in prison. The dangerous weapon modifier carries another five years.

FILE – In this Aug. 25, 2020, file photo, Kyle Rittenhouse carries a weapon as he walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., during a night of unrest following the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse is white. So were the three men he shot during street protests in Kenosha in 2020. But for many people, Rittenhouse’s trial will be watched closely as the latest referendum on race and the American judicial system. (Adam Rogan/The Journal Times via AP, File)

FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON

This felony charge is also connected to the Rosenbaum shooting. McGinnis told investigators he was in the line of fire when Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum. The charge is punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier carries another five years.

FIRST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON

This charge is connected to Anthony Huber’s death. Video shows Rittenhouse running down the street after shooting Rosenbaum when he falls to the street. Huber leaps at him and swings a skateboard at his head and neck and tries to grab Rittenhouse’s gun before Rittenhouse fires. The criminal complaint alleges Rittenhouse aimed the weapon at Huber.

Intentional homicide means just that — a person killed someone and meant to do it. Bucher said that if Rittenhouse pointed the gun at Rosenbaum and pulled the trigger, that would amount to intentional homicide. However, self-defense would trump the charge.

“Why I intended to kill this individual makes the difference,” Bucher said.

The count carries a mandatory life sentence. The weapons modifier would add up to five years.

ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON

This is the charge for Rittenhouse shooting Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm seconds after he shot Huber, and as Grosskreutz came toward him holding a pistol. Grosskreutz survived. Video shows Rittenhouse pointing his gun at Grosskreutz and firing a single round.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 60 years. The weapons modifier would add up to five more years.

FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON

Video shows an unknown man leaping at Rittenhouse and trying to kick him seconds before Huber moves his skateboard toward him. Rittenhouse appears to fire two rounds at the man but apparently misses as the man runs away.

This charge is a felony punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier again would add up to five more years.

POSSESSION OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON BY A PERSON UNDER 18

Rittenhouse was armed with an AR-style semiautomatic rifle. He was 17 years old on the night of the shootings. Wisconsin law prohibits minors from possessing firearms except for hunting.

The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months behind bars.

FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH AN EMERGENCY ORDER FROM STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Kenosha officials imposed an 8 p.m. curfew the night of the shootings. Rittenhouse was still on the streets as midnight approached. The offense is punishable by up to $200 in forfeitures.

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