The testimony provided a preview of the Rittenhouse defense strategy
A use of force expert testified that Kyle Rittenhouse’s decision to shoot three rioters was justified at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday. “A citizen in that position, given those indicators, would it be reasonable for them to believe they were about to be assaulted?” said use of force expert John Black. “I would argue yes.”
Black spent hours analyzing the shootings and the events leading up to them. Rittenhouse is facing multiple charges, including homicide, for shooting Kenosha rioters Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz on Aug. 25, 2020. Rosenbaum and Huber were killed while Grosskreutz was wounded after being shot in the hand.
Black testified that video shows Rosenbaum — a convicted pedophile — chased Rittenhouse and reached for the teenager’s gun. Rosenbaum can be seen chasing Rittenhouse and yelling “shoot me ni**a” as the teenager tries to run away. Another video shows a rioter firing a handgun into the air as a crowd chases Rittenhouse, proving that Rittenhouse did not fire the first shot.
The expert testified that based on the video footage, Rittenhouse had reason to believe Rosenbaum intended to grab his weapon and use it on him, justifying Rittenhouse’s decision to shoot. “Now the firearm is a potential weapon for both parties,” Black said. “Now we have a potential wrestling match.”
Black also testified on the other two shootings. Regarding the shooting of Anthony Huber, the expert again concluded that Rittenhouse’s decision to shoot was reasonable. A video released not long after the shooting shows Huber hitting the teenager over the head with a skateboard while attempting to grab his rifle.
Moments after Huber was shot, Gage Grosskreutz can be seen approaching Rittenhouse. He initially put his hands up, but then raised a handgun. Rittenhouse then shot him in the bicep. Black considered the use of force against Grosskreutz, who later remarked that his only regret was “not killing the kid”, justified as well. The expert also testified that Rittenhouse maintained control of his gun and was not aimlessly shooting at the crowd.
Rittenhouse’s lead attorney, Mark Richards, is trying to persuade Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder to let Black testify at the trial in November. Schroeder is holding off on making a decision until he also hears testimony from a prosecution expert on use of force on Oct. 25. The judge also declined to drop a weapons charge against Rittenhouse, though he said he is open to revisiting the matter.
The trial is set to begin on November 1.