Kenosha County, WI – The veteran judge who is presiding over the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is under police protection after having received hundreds of vile communiques that included death threats against him and his family members.
The Kenosha County Courthouse has received hundreds of abusive and menacing emails, letters, postcards, and faxes directed at Kenosha Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder, the Daily Mail reported.
Schroeder has also received numerous harassing and threatening emails sent directly to him.
“Wow way to name a white skinhead hot head to be a judge. No wonder they burn down your city,” one email read, according to the Daily Mail.
Some angry messages called for the popular judge to be dismissed or disbarred.
Schroeder was first appointed to the bench by Democratic Wisconsin Governor Anthony Earl in 1983, was elected to his first six-year term in 1984, and has been re-elected in every election since.
“I didn’t know that under your black robes of justice you wear a white robe of the klan. There is no way a fair trial can be heard under your supervision,” wrote another person who called for Schroeder to resign, the Daily Mail reported.
But the allegations of racism in connection with the trial seem misplaced because neither the defendant nor any of the people who were shot are minorities.
Some threats warned the judge he has much to look forward to from angry people after the trial, the Daily Mail reported.
“If I ever meet you in person, I intend to spit directly in your face, regardless of the cost,” another person wrote.
One particularly disturbing message threatened the lives of Schroeder’s children, promised “pay back,” and vowed that Rittenhouse “won’t live long if the jury votes to acquit him, the Daily Mail reported.
Many of the people who sent threatening notes to the judge signed the messages with their real names.
Schroeder has infuriated those who want to see Rittenhouse convicted of murder.
On Monday morning, he dismissed the misdemeanor gun charge that had been pending against the 18 year old, a blow to those who had assumed he would be convicted of that if nothing else.
Schroeder has lost his temper and exploded at Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger multiple times throughout the trial.
One of the kerfuffles erupted several minutes into the state’s cross-examination of Rittenhouse after the assistant district attorney implied the teen had done something wrong by not explaining his actions that day ahead of the trial.
Schroeder also upheld an objection the defense had made to questions that Binger asked Rittenhouse about his beliefs and opinions.
The judge said he had ruled against that material in a prior motion and also reprimanded Binger for a second time during the cross-examination for having referenced the defendant’s pre-trial silence.
More than once, Rittenhouse defense attorney Mark Richards threatened to move for a mistrial with prejudice and suggested the judge should take the initiative on his own to do so.
If such a request was granted, the state would not be able to refile the same charges against Rittenhouse at a later date.
Schroeder warned the assistant district attorney that he was dangerously close to the line.
The exchange between the prosecutor and the judge became heated, with Binger admonishing his honor for interrupting him more than once.
Schroeder warned Binger, not for the first time, that he was dangerously close to violating Rittenhouse’s Constitutional rights, and raised his voice to yell at the assistant district attorney at least three times.
The judge has a reputation for being so stern on sentencing that many defendants request a different jurist at the outset.
But he also has a reputation for staunchly defending the rights of the defendants throughout the trial.
Schroeder made references to the “thousands of communications” received by him and his staff in court last week and promised he would deal with the people who sent them, the Daily Mail reported.
“I wouldn’t want to be those people,” the judge said.
Schroeder has a police detail assigned to watch over him throughout the duration of the trial, the Daily Mail reported.