A Wisconsin judge was set to hear arguments Friday on whether prosecutors should return to Kyle Rittenhouse the assault-style rifle he used to shoot three people during a street protest.
Rittenhouse shot the men during the protest in Kenosha in 2020. He killed Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm. Rittenhouse argued he fired in self-defense after each of the men attacked him. A jury last year acquitted him of all charges, including reckless endangerment.
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Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, filed a motion Jan. 19 asking prosecutors to return Rittenhouse’s rifle, his ammunition, his face mask and other clothing he was wearing the night of the shooting to him.
The gun appeared in several viral photos, both from the riots and from the trial. On one occasion, a county prosecutor was photographed while waving the gun as part of a demonstration.
Take a look —
#KyleRittenhouseTrial: Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger holds Kyle Rittenhouse's gun as he gives the state's closing argument in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse.
????: Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty pic.twitter.com/ZEH7NmJ9Vk
— NewsOne (@newsone) November 15, 2021
Both Rittenhouse’s lawyer and his spokesperson said last week that Rittenhouse wants to destroy the rifle and throw the rest of the items away so nothing can be used as a political symbol.
Some liberals have painted Rittenhouse as a trigger-happy vigilante, despite his acquittal.
The motion hearing was before Judge Bruce Schroeder, the Kenosha County judge who presided over Rittenhouse’s trial. Hancock said Rittenhouse would not be in court for Friday’s hearing.
Demonstrators took to the streets for a number of nights in Kenosha in August 2020 after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back as Blake was resisting arrest during a domestic disturbance. The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
The protests turned chaotic eventually, with people burning buildings. Rittenhouse and his friend, Dominick Black, joined a group to protect a used car lot on the night of Aug. 25, 2020.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at time and living in nearby Antioch, Illinois, was armed with an AR-15-style rifle that Black had purchased for him earlier that year because he was too young to buy a firearm under Wisconsin law.
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According to the motion, Black had agreed that the rifle would become Rittenhouse’s property on his 18th birthday, Jan. 3, 2021.
Bystander and surveillance video shows that just before midnight Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse down and Rittenhouse shot him as he closed in on him. He shot Huber after Huber swung a skateboard at his head and Grosskreutz after Grosskreutz ran up to him holding a pistol. Everyone involved in the shooting was white, but some commentators have projected race relations onto it.
Black pleaded no contest to two citations earlier this month for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in exchange for prosecutors dropping two felony charges of intent to sell a dangerous weapon to a person younger than 18.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.