The attorneys representing Kenosha gunman Kyle Rittenhouse have announced they will be establishing a legal defense fund for the teen who is facing multiple charges for killing two protesters on Tuesday.
The Kenosha County District Attorney’s office on Thursday formally charged the 17-year-old from Illinois in the fatal shooting of two men and the wounding of a third during a night of Jacob Blake demonstrations in the city.
The charges include one count of first-degree intentional homicide; one count of first-degree reckless homicide; one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide; two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.
Rittenhouse would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, the most serious crime in Wisconsin.
He was assigned a public defender in Illinois for a hearing Friday upon his extradition to Wisconsin, where anyone 17 or older is treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.
(2) Many others will need your help in coming days. Stay strong. Continue to speak truth. Continue to demand justice under our Constitution. Continue to be fearless.— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) August 27, 2020
(3) Most important of all, continue to pray for your fellow citizens. Pray for our President. Pray for our country. And always, always, always #FightBack.— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) August 27, 2020
We will not go quietly in the night. We are Americans. 🇺🇸
Defense attorney Lin Wood on Thursday thanked all the ‘freedom loving Americans’ for their support of Rittenhouse, announcing they will be accepting donations through a foundation for their fight for ‘justice.’
‘We have connected with Kyle’s family & help is on the way. Kyle will have excellent legal representation. We owe him a legal defense,’ Wood said on Twitter.
‘Many others will need your help in coming days. Stay strong. Continue to speak truth. Continue to demand justice under our Constitution. Continue to be fearless.’
Wood previously represented 18-year-old Nicholas Sandmann, a student at Covington Catholic High School, who sued the Washington Post and CNN for portraying him as racist in their coverage of his stand-off with a Native American protester last year.
Wood said the Fight Back Foundation, Inc, will be accepting donations online within the next six to 12 hours.
Viral cellphone footage from Tuesday night’s protests showed Rittenhouse being chased into a used car lot by someone before shots are heard and the person lies dead.
The shooter then runs down the street where he is chased by several people shouting that he just shot someone. He stumbles after being approached by several more people and fires, killing another man and injuring a third.
The two men who were killed have been identified as Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, about 15 miles west of the city.
The wounded person, Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis, about 30 miles northwest of Kenosha, was expected to survive, police said.
Wood has claimed the teenager was acting in self-defense.
‘From my standpoint, it’s important that the message be clear to other Americans who are attacked that there will be legal resources available in the event false charges are brought against them,’ he said.
‘Americans should never be deterred from exercising their right of self-defense.’
Kenosha police faced questions about their interactions with the gunman on Tuesday night.
According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air, as members of the crowd yelled for him to be arrested because he had shot people.
As for how the gunman managed to slip away, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth has described a chaotic, high-stress scene, with lots of radio traffic and people screaming, chanting and running – conditions he said can cause ‘tunnel vision’ among law officers.
Video taken before the shooting shows police tossing bottled water from an armored vehicle and thanking civilians armed with long guns walking the streets. One of them appears to be the gunman.
‘We appreciate you being here,’ an officer was heard saying to the group over a loudspeaker.
The sheriff later defended officers by saying, ‘Our deputies would toss water to anybody.’
The national and state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday called for the resignation of Beth and Kenosha Police Chief Dan Miskinis over their handling of Blake’s death and the subsequent protests.
Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, about 15 miles from Kenosha, was taken into custody Wednesday in Illinois.