Kyle Rittenhouse trial will have race front and center, and activists feel little hope

KENOSHA, Wis. (WLS) -- Even though Kyle Rittenhouse is white and the three men he shot, two fatally, were also white, Black activists say race will be front-and-center at his trial.

"The fact that they were marching along with people who were protesting, who were people of color, and the man who was shot, Jacob Blake, seven times in his back was a person of color," said Minister Caliph Muab'El, Kenosha Coalition Organizing Resolution.


Rittenhouse is charged with felony homicide and attempted homicide. He's accused of killing two people and injuring a third with an AR-15 style rifle during the unrest in the aftermath of Blake's shooting by a Kenosha police officer last August. Rittenhouse was 17 at the time. He said he traveled from Antioch to protect Kenosha property.

"I am not worried about the outcome of the trial because I already know what it is going to be," Muab'El said. "They have already set the stage."

Earlier this week, a judge ruled the men who were killed and injured cannot be referred to as "victims" but can be referred to as "rioters" and "looters."

"The judge ruled that these people can't be looked at as victims," Muab'El pointed out.

"Nothing is going to change the government, the judges the judge already put a pre-ordained clause," said Gregory Bennet, Jr. of Peace in the Streets.


Kenosha hasn't fully recovered from the unrest. Storefronts remain boarded up, covering the destruction of the flames. The community remains on guard more than a year later. Many will be following the trial and reliving a painful chapter in the city's history.

"You know, when you already know the outcome, you think of a solution in the plan to try to get through," said Nichlas Dennis, Kenosha Coalition Organizing Resolution.

"The most important thing is how we respond. That's what everybody is looking at. How are we going to respond," Muab'El said.

Jury selection starts Monday. Black Lives Matter Lake County is planning to hold a demonstration in front of the courthouse. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
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