Wisconsin Public Radio

Rittenhouse Defense Wants Expert Witness To Argue Self Defense

Judge hearing the case considers allowing jury to hear testimony from a use of force expert.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Oct 5th, 2021 03:28 pm
Kyle Rittenhouse. Photo from the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office Office

Kyle Rittenhouse. Photo from the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office Office

A use-of-force expert testified Tuesday that Kyle Rittenhouse was in “reactionary mode” last year when he shot three people during a protest against police brutality in Kenosha.

Dr. John Black‘s statements offer an indication of how Rittenhouse’s attorneys plan to defend him. Prosecutors argued earlier Tuesday morning that Black’s testimony shouldn’t be allowed in Rittenhouse’s upcoming trial.

Judge Bruce Schroeder listened to Black’s testimony during a motion hearing, while weighing if he’ll allow the defense to use the witness at Rittenhouse’s trial when it begins next month. After four hours of testimony, Schroeder adjourned without making a decision.

Schroeder did uphold a charge against Rittenhouse that he possessed his gun illegally and denied a request by prosecutors to limit how media cover the high-profile trial.

Rittenhouse is charged with killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber on Aug. 25, 2020 in Kenosha, as well as wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.

Rittenhouse, who was in court Tuesday, has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys argue the shootings were in self-defense.

Schroeder ruled last month the jury won’t hear evidence that connects the alt-right group the Proud Boys and Rittenhouse.

If allowed, Black is expected to testify during the trial that the scene on the night of Aug. 25, 2020, including darkness, fires and ambient gunfire, had an effect on Rittenhouse that could have caused him to shoot his victims.

Black, an Oregon state resident, spoke to the court via Zoom on Tuesday. He said he has consulted on use-of-force cases about 60 times.

Black told the court that after reviewing video footage and sound from the night of the shooting, Rittenhouse’s total gunfire was finished in 5.63 seconds.

“The idea of reacting is something else is pushing us to do something, you are playing catch up,” Black said. “The idea is something else outside of you is the initiator of the action. You are reacting to the stimulator.”

Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards asked if the “reactor” was Rosenbaum.

“I can’t speak to Mr. Rittenhouse, but it would be absolutely reasonable,” Black said. “I see evidence of Rittenhouse moving away towards his adversary.”

The state plans to rebut Black’s testimony with its own expert witness during Rittenhouse’s trial. Another hearing is scheduled Oct. 25.

Rittenhouse was 17 when he went to Kenosha, armed with a rifle, to respond to protests and rioting following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Blake, who is Black, was left paralyzed when he was shot in the back by a white police officer. The shooting, found by an independent investigator to be justified, was captured on video and became a national flashpoint.

Jury selection is set to begin Nov. 1.

Expert witness tells court Rittenhouse was in ‘reactionary mode’ when he shot 3 people was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

2 thoughts on “Rittenhouse Defense Wants Expert Witness To Argue Self Defense”

  1. ringo muldano says:

    How does a parent get away with driving their17 yr. son across state lines to carry around a rifle? Why didn’t the police officers take it away?

  2. ringo muldano says:

    Rittenhouse does not deny he killed two people. This is premeditated murder. He had no right to be in Wisconsin or carrying a rifle around in after dark. The police officers didn’t even ask him for ID. WTF!? If Rittenhouse was a 17 yr. black kid, they’d likely have shot his ass. Sure wouldn’t have let him walk around like he f’n owned the place. His mom and Kenosha police went along with this nonsense. Where is his expression of remorse? His mother? The police? Legal use of force my ass!

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