The Kyle Rittenhouse Judge Is the Actual Worst

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    The Kyle Rittenhouse Judge Is the Actual Worst

    “I think Kyle Rittenhouse is going to get off. They gave the case to the worst judge in town.”

    Last April, America, or at least part of it, breathed a heavy sigh of relief when former police officer Derek Chauvin was actually held accountable for murdering George Floyd. Obviously, people weren’t holding their breath because it was unclear whether or not Chauvin was actually responsible for Floyd’s death—to anyone who watched the video of him kneeling on Floyd’s neck, it was beyond clear he was—but because as a country we were so used to white people, particularly cops, being allowed to kill Black people with impunity. So Chauvin actually being found guilty was a huge shock, and the relief was palpable.

    Seven months later, it does not look like we will be breathing the same heavy sighs of relief in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse. For those of you who need a refresher, Rittenhouse is the Illinois teen who had traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, as protests broke out following a police officer’s decision to shoot 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake in the back seven times. There, having taken it upon himself to “protect” a local business, carrying an AR-15, Rittenhouse shot and killed two men and wounded another.

    Immediately and predictably, the right came to Rittenhouse’s defense. Then president Donald Trump refused to condemn the then 17-year-old’s action, claiming the teen vigilante was trying to flee protesters, and that if he hadn’t fatally shot two people “he probably would’ve been killed.” Later, Donald Trump Jr. chalked up the fatal shooting of two people to a youthful indiscretion. “We all do stupid things at 17,” Jr. told Extra correspondent Rachel Lindsay.

    And now, it appears that Rittenhouse has an ally in Bruce Schroeder, the judge presiding over his trial. How do we know this? Let’s examine the evidence!

    For starters, even before the trial began, Schroeder refused to allow prosecutors to refer to the people Rittenhouse killed as “victims,” claiming it was too “loaded” a term. As The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal wrote of the decision:

    I can absolutely see the argument that using the term in a case where the defendant claims self-defense lacks neutrality. It’s a choice other judges have made, though I doubt that this kind of neutrality would be given to a Black teen who gunned down people at a MAGA rally. Still, I wouldn’t call Judge Schroeder biased for this ruling alone. I call Schroeder biased because at the same conference at which he decided to prohibit the prosecution from using the word “victims” to describe the people Rittenhouse shot, he said he would allow the defense to use words like “rioters,” “looters,” and “arsonists” to describe those same people.

    That’s bullshit. The (ahem) victims are not on trial. Rittenhouse is. Refusing to allow prosecutors to use linguistically accurate terms for people who did not voluntarily attempt to catch a bullet with their face at the same time as allowing the defense to use prejudicial language to characterize what those people were doing at the time is the very definition of bias. There is [not] and never will be a trial to determine whether Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum were arsonists, looters, or rioters, because Rittenhouse killed them in the street. Indeed, the sole surviving victim of Rittenhouse’s gunfire, Gaige Grosskreutz, has not been charged with rioting, looting, arson, or any crime whatsoever arising out of the protests in Kenosha.

    Elsewhere in pretrial fun, Schroeder let Rittenhouse out on a $2 million bail, which was crowdfunded by people who think he did nothing wrong; refused to issue a new arrest warrant for Rittenhouse after prosecutors argued he had violated the terms of his bond; and said that he would allow the defense to introduce evidence of police officers telling the 17-year-old “we appreciate you.” Oh, and there was also this, per Mystal:

    At the same time, Schroeder announced that he [would] not allow prosecutors to introduce evidence of Rittenhouse’s prior disposition to shoot people to death. There is video of Rittenhouse watching from a car as people leave a CVS: He calls them “looters” and says that he wishes he had a gun to shoot them. The video was taken in August 2020, about two and a half weeks before Rittenhouse shot up the streets of Kenosha. There are also photos from January 2020 of Rittenhouse posing with members of the Proud Boys. Both the video and the photos will be excluded, but the police patting Rittenhouse on the head like a good little white supremacist will be included.

    And that all happened before the trial got underway! Since it has, Schroeder has…seemed inclined to continue to go to bat for a kid who killed two people. On Wednesday, for instance, he snapped at the prosecution for asking Rittenhouse why he thought he needed protection in the form of an AR-15, which seems pretty central to the case:

    This also happened:

    And this:

    And for the coup de grâce, this:

    So you can probably understand why, as one Kenosha resident told The Washington Post: “I think Kyle Rittenhouse is going to get off. They gave the case to the worst judge in town.”

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    Published at Thu, 11 Nov 2021 00:26:15 +0000

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/11/bruce-schroeder-kyle-rittenhouse-kenosha-trial

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