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CPD cancels days off as Rittenhouse trial winds down


As the Kyle Rittenhouse trial hits a snag, the Chicago Police Department has canceled regularly scheduled days off starting Friday, November 12, and throughout the weekend.

CPD officials did not say why they canceled the days off, but Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara in one news report said he believes the move is in response to concerns of potential civil unrest as the trial winds down. CPD officials in a story on ABC7 Chicago denied those claims but said the cancellations aim to curb rising violence on the city’s streets.

Rittenhouse took the witness stand Wednesday, November 10, to testify in his own defense. He said he didn’t do anything wrong when he shot three men that night – August 25, 2020. He broke down in tears as he described how he was being chased by Joseph Rosenbaum, one of the men he shot dead during a violent night of civil unrest after the police involved shooting of Jacob Blake.

JOSEPH ROSENBAUM, the first man killed by Kyle Rittenhouse on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was shot at a range of just a few feet, a pathologist testified Tuesday, November 9.

During a dramatic day in the courtroom, Rittenhouse attorneys asked Kenosha Judge Bruce Schroeder to declare a mistrial after prosecutor Thomas Binger grilled Rittenhouse with questions that exposed serious cracks in his case. Under cross examination, Rittenhouse admitted that he lied when he told numerous people that night that he was a certified EMT. Jurors also learned that although Rittenhouse said he was there to render aid, he didn’t help the three people he shot.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys filed a motion for a mistrial after Binger tried to introduce evidence that Judge Schroeder ruled inadmissible in court in the pretrial phase. That move prompted a rebuke from Judge Schroeder, who said he will consider the defense’s request for a mistrial but signaled that the trial would continue.

Blacks in Chicago and across the country are closely watching the Rittenhouse and Ahmaud Arbery trials. Both are renewing racial tensions, as relatives of victims encounter setbacks in their quest to achieve justice for loved ones killed by people claiming self-defense.

Three white men are charged in the death of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black jogger who was gunned down in a white neighborhood in Georgia in February, 2020. Civil rights leader Al Sharpton was scheduled to attend the trial on Wednesday, November 10, one week after defense attorneys picked a nearly all-white jury to hear the case.

But all eyes are on Rittenhouse, a 17- year-old from Antioch, Illinois, who supports the Blue Lives Matter Movement and whose legal case has drawn financial support from white celebrities and organizations.

Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse

Many Blacks believe the Rittenhouse case is a blatant example of white privilege that emboldened him to shoot two men and injure another with an AR-15 style rifle during protests in Kenosha following the shooting of Jacob Blake in 2020.

After the shooting, Rittenhouse walked the streets of Kenosha with his rifle along with law enforcement officers who were alerted by protesters of Rittenhouse’s actions. Rittenhouse eventually turned himself in before he was charged with six counts of first-degree intentional murder. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On Tuesday, November 9, prosecutors rested their case against Rittenhouse after calling 22 witnesses.

One witness was a forensic imaging specialist with the state crime lab in Milwaukee who played never-before-seen drone footage of Rittenhouse fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum. Another witness who testified was a doctor who said Rosenbaum died from a fatal shot to the back as his body was bent forward.

The state’s key witness, Gaige Grosskreutz, is a paramedic whom Rittenhouse shot and wounded that night. During his testimony on Monday, November 8, Grosskreutz said he believed Rittenhouse was an active shooter and pursued him while carrying an unholstered and concealed gun. Grosskreutz said that he put his hands up when Rittenhouse pointed his AR-15-style rifle at him but believed Rittenhouse did not accept his surrender. Rittenhouse then shot him in the right bicep.

“I was never trying to kill the defendant,” Grosskreutz said. “In that moment, I was trying to preserve my own life, but doing so while taking the life of another is not something I am capable or comfortable doing.”

In cross-examination, defense attorney Corey Chirafisi pointed out that Rittenhouse fired when Grosskreutz aimed his gun at him. “It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced at him with your gun … that he fired,” Chirafisi said.

“Right,” Grosskreutz responded.

Legal analysts said Rittenhouse’s defense attorneys so far have made convincing arguments to support their case that their client acted in self-defense after he felt that his life was threatened by Grosskreutz, Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, whom Rittenhouse had shot after Huber tried to take away his gun.

Shortly after the prosecution rested its case on Tuesday, Rittenhouse’s attorneys called their first witness. Nicholas Smith, 23, testified that Anmol “Sam” Khindri, one of the owners of the Car Source car dealership, had asked him to help protect the dealership on the night of the shootings.

Smith’s testimony contradicted Khindri and his brother, who during testimony on November 5 said they never asked anyone to protect the car lot.

Smith said he had worked at Car Source previously and was friends with the owners for nearly 10 years. He said he reached out to Rittenhouse’s friend, Dominick Black, after he came across a video posted to Snapchat showing Black at the protests the night before.

The defense will continue with their case this week as the trial wraps up its second week.

While the streets of Kenosha have been relatively calm throughout the trial, the scene is different in Brunswick, Georgia, where the trial of Ahmaud Arbery is moving at a slower pace after a long jury selection process that produced just one Black juror. That has put Black clergy and protestors on edge. They have been a constant presence outside the Glynn County Courthouse.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley allowed the jury to be sworn in over the objections of prosecutors, who said several potential Black jurors were excluded because of their race, leaving only one Black juror on the panel of 12. Brunswick, Georgia, is 55 percent Black, according to the 2020 U.S. Census figures.

Reverend Al Sharpton was expected to attend the trial at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Last month, Arbery’s family requested Sharpton to make an appearance once the trial gets underway.

Three men, Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, are charged with federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping in the death of Arbery.

TRAVIS McMICHAEL (FROM LEFT), his father, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie’’ Bryan face federal hate crime charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Georgia man who was killed while out for a run last year. (Photo courtesy of Glynn County, Georgia, Detention Center)

Gregory and Travis McMichael armed themselves and used a pickup truck to pursue Arbery after they spotted him running in their neighborhood. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and used his cellphone to record Travis McMichael shooting Arbery in the street at close range.

No arrests were made for more than two months until the video of the killing leaked online, sparking an outcry amid a national reckoning over racial injustice. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police. Both of the McMichaels and Bryan were soon charged with murder and other crimes.

On Monday, November 8, jurors saw graphic police photos showing the gunshot wounds that killed Arbery. Glynn County police Sgt. Sheila Ramos walked the jury through dozens of crime scene photos she took about an hour after the shooting. Several jurors could be seen squirming as Ramos showed Arbery’s body lying in the street under a bloodstained covering. Other images showed closeup views of the gunshot wounds to his wrist as well as grievous injuries to his chest and underneath one of his arms.

The Associated Press reported that Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, stayed in the courtroom as the graphic photos were shown. She reportedly was heard “exhaling quietly” as Ramos identified closeup images of a gaping shotgun wound in her son’s chest. Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., reportedly left the courtroom before the jury was shown the images.

During his testimony, Ricky Minshew, then a Glynn County police patrol officer, testified he arrived at the scene in the Satilla Shores Subdivision about a minute after the gunshots sounded. Arbery was lying face down in the street with blood pooling around him.

Minshew testified he heard Arbery make a noise he described as a “death rattle.” The officer radioed for 911 operators to send emergency medical responders but said he did not have the training or equipment to treat such serious injuries.

William Duggan, the second officer to respond to the shooting, testified November 8 that he rolled Arbery over and pressed a hand to his wounded chest.

Defense attorneys said the men were justified in chasing Arbery because they suspected he was a burglar. They say Travis McMichael fired in self-defense when Arbery attacked him with fists and tried to grab his gun.

The Arbery trial also continues this week.

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