Kenosha County, WI – Kenosha Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a misdemeanor gun charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 against Kyle Rittenhouse on Monday morning before he began jury instructions in the teen’s murder trial.
While the gun charge was just a misdemeanor, legal experts had predicted that the gun charge was the one count that was likely to actually result in a conviction for the 18-year-old Rittenhouse, who is on trial for the murder of two men and attempted murder of a third during the Jacob Blake riots in August of 2020, WCCO reported.
Rittenhouse was only 17 years old when he carried and fired an AR-15 rifle a friend had purchased and kept for him in Kenosha in what his attorneys have said was self-defense.
Attorneys for Rittenhouse argued on Nov. 15 that Wisconsin law has an exception allows 17-year-olds to openly carry firearms as long as they are not short-barreled rifles, WCCO reported.
Defense attorneys told the judge that Rittenhouse’s rifle did not have a barrel of less than 16 inches and an overall length of less than 26 inches and therefore, it was not illegal for the defendant to have carried it.
The judge allowed that the state law was badly written and but said that Rittenhouse had not violated the law, WCCO reported.
He dismissed that count against the now-18 year old.
If convicted of the gun misdemeanor, the charge would have carried a maximum sentence of nine months behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
Shortly after the shooting, Facebook began to suppress any claims that it was legal for Rittenhouse to possess the rifle.
Politifact incorrectly claimed in a fact check that it wasn’t legal for Rittenhouse to possess the rifle. This fact check resulted in Facebook spreading misinformation next to posts about the topic, claiming that Rittenhouse could not legally possess a rifle.
The company said in an earlier statement that they had already categorized the incident as a “mass murder.”
“We’ve designated this shooting as a mass murder and have removed the shooter’s accounts from Facebook and Instagram,” a Facebook representative said.
Numerous Facebook users have reported trips to “Facebook Jail” for having posted articles and comments in support of Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two men and wounded a third in what he claimed was self-defense during the Jacob Blake riots in Kenosha in August of 2020.
Retired Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Silvey, who runs the “Deputy Matt and Others Who Serve” Facebook page, told The Police Tribune that he has been sent to Facebook jail more than once for posting opinions on the Second Amendment and support for law enforcement.
Silvey was notified that his post supporting Rittenhouse on Nov. 4 had been taken down because it allegedly violated community standards.
He appealed and the post was reinstated.
A day later, he got a second disciplinary notice for violating standards on “dangerous individuals and organizations,” a classification used for terrorist and hate groups. The second notice came with a penalty.
The disciplinary notice said he was prohibited from going live or advertising for 30 days as punishment for the same Rittenhouse post that had already been reinstated.
Rittenhouse is still facing five felony charges that he has pleaded not guilty to, ranging from intentional homicide to recklessly endangering safety, WCCO reported.
Attorneys were scheduled to begin closing arguments on Monday, and then the case was expected to go to the jury later in the day.
Critics have said that prosecutors lost the case when more than one of its own witnesses gave testimony that seemed to support Rittenhouse’s self-defense claims.
On Nov. 10, one of the men whom Rittenhouse shot that night testified that he had pointed his gun at the teenager before the boy shot him, CNN reported.
“When you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired, right?” defense attorney Corey Chirafisi asked Gaige Grosskreutz, whom Rittenhouse shot in the right bicep.
“Correct,” Grosskreutz said.
“It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun — now your hand is down pointed at him — that he fired, right?” Chirafisi asked.
“Correct,” Grosskreutz responded.
Grosskreutz testified that he was carrying a pistol concealed that night even though his conceal carried permit was expired, CNN reported.
He also admitted that he lied to investigators when he claimed his gun had fallen out of his pants earlier in the evening.
Rittenhouse fell apart in sobs on the stand when he was being walked through the shootings by Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, CNN reported.
“I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me,” the 18 year old told the jury.
“By killing them?” Binger asked.
“Two of them passed away but I stopped the threat from attacking me,” Rittenhouse replied.
The teen’s attorneys have said the shootings occurred when he was in Kenosha to help clean graffiti off school buildings that had been vandalized during the anti-police riots when a friend asked him to help provide security for a car dealership.
Rittenhouse his gun and a medic kit with him and told reporters on the scene he was there to help anybody who was hurt.
At one point, he left the dealership to provide medical aid to a protester and then found himself blocked from returning to where his friends were.
His attorneys have said Rittenhouse was pursued through the streets of Kenosha and shot three people – killing two – in self-defense.