Closing arguments at Kyle Rittenhouse‘s murder trial began on Monday with the prosecution questioning whether Rittenhouse was really there to help the night he showed up in Kenosha with a rifle during a protest against racial injustice.
Prosecutor Thomas Binger told the jury that Rittenhouse had no ties to the company he claimed to be protecting, that he carried an AR-style semi-automatic gun, and that he lied about being an EMT.
“Does that suggest to you that he genuinely is there to help?” Binger asked, according to Associated Press inputs.
Binger repeatedly presented a section of drone video in which Rittenhouse is seen aiming a gun towards demonstrators after laying down a fire extinguisher. “This is the provocation. This is what starts this incident,” he added.
In a case that has sparked intense discussion in the United States about guns, vigilantism, racial injustice, and law and order, Rittenhouse, then 18, murdered two men and injured a third during a chaotic night of protests in the summer of 2020.
Prosecutors have attempted to depict Rittenhouse as the aggressor who, with his semi-automatic weapon, created a hazardous scenario in the first place that night, while Rittenhouse has stated that he feared for his life and acted in self-defence.
If convicted on the most serious charge against him, first-degree intentional homicide, the young man from Antioch, Illinois, faces a mandatory life sentence.
On August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse, 17 then, drove a few miles from his home to Kenosha, which was in the midst of violent riots after a white police officer shot and wounded Jacob Blake, a Black man. According to Rittenhouse, he went there to safeguard property.
Supporters have lauded him as a hero who stood up to lawlessness, while opponents have labelled him a vigilante.
With inputs from the Associated Press