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Prosecutors Ask Judge To Forbid Kyle Rittenhouse From Using Okay Sign

Kenosha, WI – Kenosha County prosecutors filed a motion on Wednesday that asked the judge to modify the terms of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse’s $2 million bail.

Rittenhouse spent three months in jail, accused of fatally shooting two men who attacked him during the Jacob Blake riots in Kenosha in August.

He was initially arrested at home in Illinois, then was extradited back to Wisconsin, and eventually he got bailed out of jail by actor Ricky Schroder and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell in late November.

Rittenhouse is facing five felony charges including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and a misdemeanor charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor, WEAR reported.

Prosecutors said in their motion that Rittenhouse was spotted drinking alcohol in Pudgy’s Pub in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin after his Jan. 5 arraignment, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The court filing also claimed that while he was in the tavern, Rittenhouse flashed the okay sign – which prosecutors claim has become a symbol of the far-right Proud Boys – and was “loudly serenaded” by five men with the song “Proud of Your Boy” that has become the anthem of that group, the Associated Press reported.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) added the “okay” hand gesture and 35 other images and slogans to its list of hate symbols in October of 2019.

The myth that the okay sign actually means “white power” was started by internet trolls on 4chan, an anonymous message board, in February of 2017, the ADL previously said.

“We must flood twitter and other social media websites with spam, claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy,” the anonymous poster wrote, according to the civil rights organization. “Leftists have dug so deep down into their lunacy. We must force [them] to dig more, until the rest of society ain’t going anywhere near that s–t.”

Users encouraged people to perpetuate the hoax using hashtags such as #PowerHandPrivilege and #NotOkay, created fake social media and email accounts, and bombarded journalists and civil rights organizations with the misinformation.

The symbol became widely used as a political statement to mock leftists for believing the myth.

But in 2019, the hand gesture “was being used in some circles as a sincere expression of white supremacy,” the ADL said in a press release.

Prosecutors searched the security video from the bar where Rittenhouse was reportedly spotted drinking and posing with Proud Boys for photos and presented numerous screenshots as evidence of the defendant’s activities.

Mount Pleasant police investigated and said that Rittenhouse had not violated any of the terms of his release, the New York Daily News reported.

Although the national minimum drinking age is 21, Wisconsin law permits individuals 18 years of age and older to drink in bars when they are accompanied by their parents.

Rittenhouse was at Pudgy’s Pub with his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, and several other adults, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Illinois teen is currently living in Racine to assist his attorneys in preparing his defense.

The motion filed by prosecutors on Jan. 13 asked the judge to prohibit Rittenhouse from “publicly displaying symbols and gestures that are associated with violent white supremacist groups and from associating with known members of those groups, particularly the Proud Boys,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

They also asked that the 18 year old be banned from bars and drinking alcohol while he is out on bail.

“The consumption of alcohol increases the likelihood of violent criminal acts,” the motion read, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Rittenhouse’s criminal attorney, Mark Richards, responded to the petition early on Thursday morning and said that he did not object to the prosecutors’ requested conditions.

Richards also said that Rittenhouse “is not currently and has not ever been a member of any of the organizations the state lists in its motion,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

The attorney said that there was no evidence that linked his client to “the listed organizations” and said the teen had “no membership, affiliation, or affinity for any of the identified groups.”

He accused prosecutors of “a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to interject the issue of race into a case that is about a person’s right to self-defense,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

Rittenhouse stands accused of having killed two white men during the Kenosha riots.

His attorneys have said the teen was in Kenosha to help clean graffiti off school buildings that had been vandalized in the Blake riots when a friend asked him to help provide security for a car dealership.

Rittenhouse, then 17 year old, brought a medic kit and an AR-15 rifle that a friend had purchase for him with his pandemic stimulus check 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.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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