Kenosha protest shootings occurred in wake of Jacob Blake police shooting
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois accused of shooting and killing two people during protests in Kenosha, was extradited to Wisconsin for trial, after an Illinois judge's ruling Friday.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office said by 4 p.m. they extradition had already been completed.
Rittenhouse appeared in person in court, surrounded by armed law enforcement. Rittenhouse's attorney John Pierce had informed the court previously that he planned to call witnesses, including Rittenhouse's mother, an attorney with expertise in self-defense claims and a prison security expert. However, at Friday's hearing, Pierce called no witnesses.
Pierce had filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus claiming extradition would violate Rittenhouse's constitutional rights. The judge denied that petition and granted the request of the Lake County State's Attorney's Office to grant extradition to the state of Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three protestors, killing two of them, in Kenosha in August after the Jacob Blake shooting by Kenosha police.
Rittenhouse faces first-degree intentional homicide charges, attempted intentional homicide charge as well as a misdemeanor charge of underage firearm possession.
Extradition cases are typically formalities and judges rarely refuse to OK another state's request to transfer a suspect. But that has not been in the case here.
Demonstrators supporting Black Lives Matter made their presence known outside the courthouse as Rittenhouse's hearing took place. Some said they believed the extradition fight is just a way for the teen to avoid facing the consequences of his actions.
Clyde McLemore, who led some of the protests in Kenosha, said he confronted Rittenhouse earlier in the evening the night of the shootings, before they happened. He said he was steered away from further conversation, a move he thinks may have keep him safe.
It's also been in the national spotlight. Conservatives say Rittenhouse was exercising his right to bear arms during unrest in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, while others are calling him a domestic terrorist.
"There's nothing political about killing people," McLemore said.
The case has become a rallying point for some conservatives who see Rittenhouse as a patriot who was exercising his right to bear arms during unrest in Kenosha following the shooting of a Black man by a white police officer. Others portray him as a domestic terrorist who incited protesters by showing up wielding a rifle.
The killings occurred Aug. 25, two days after a police officer trying to arrest Jacob Blake shot him seven times in the back after a brief scuffle, leaving Blake paralyzed from the waist down. A video of the shooting posted online sparked outrage and helped spur on the protests.
Rittenhouse and the man he allegedly injured are white, as were the two men killed.
A day after the shooting, Rittenhouse surrendered to police in his Illinois hometown of Antioch, just across the Wisconsin border and some 10 miles (16.09 kilometers) southwest of Kenosha.
Lawyers for Rittenhouse have argued he was acting in self-defense and that extraditing him to Wisconsin would violate his constitutional rights.
In one filing, they complained that Rittenhouse had been "publicly branded a 'mass murderer,' a 'terrorist,' a 'racist,' and more." At a hearing in the case in early October, Rittenhouse attorney John Pierce said "this is not a legitimate criminal prosecution, it is a political prosecution." Defense lawyers have also said his extradition would be akin to turning him "over to the mob."
The Rittenhouse defense team was broaching "irrelevant and inflammatory 'facts' which are solely meant to sway sympathy and public opinion through the media in favor of the defendant," Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Scheller responded in one recent filing.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has signed a warrant to return Rittenhouse to Wisconsin after a request from Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a fellow Democrat. Mike Nerheim, the Lake County state's attorney, has said he's never seen anyone fight extradition after the governor signed a warrant for it.
According to prosecutors and court documents, Rittenhouse shot and killed 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, of Kenosha, after Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse, missing him, and tried to wrestle his rifle away.
While trying to get away in the immediate aftermath, Rittenhouse was captured on cellphone video saying, "I just killed somebody." According to a complaint filed by prosecutors, someone in the crowd said, "Beat him up!" and another yelled, "Get him! Get that dude!"
Video shows that Rittenhouse tripped in the street. As he was on the ground, 26-year-old Anthony Huber, of Silver Lake, hit him with a skateboard and tried to take his rifle. Rittenhouse opened fire, killing Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, of West Allis, who was holding a handgun.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.