Judge rejects new arrest warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse


MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A judge on Thursday rejected prosecutors’ request to issue a new arrest warrant for an 18-year-old from Illinois accused of killing two people during a protest of police brutality in Wisconsin last summer.

Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder also rejected prosecutors’ request for a $ 200,000 increase in bail for Kyle Rittenhouse, who arrived in Kenosha in August as hundreds protested the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said in court documents that prosecutors realized that Rittenhouse no longer lived in his Antioch, Illinois apartment when a court notice for non-surrender was returned. Kenosha detectives traveled to the apartment on February 2 and found someone else living there. That man said he had been renting the place since mid-December.

Rittenhouse’s lawyers argued that the threats have forced Rittenhouse into hiding. He moved into an undisclosed “safe house” after conservative groups posted his initial $ 2 million bond in November. His attorneys say they have offered to reveal his current address to prosecutors, but only if they agree to keep it sealed.

“The defense is concerned that any information about Kyle’s location that becomes publicly available will result in immediate harm to the Rittenhouse family,” Mark Richards, one of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, wrote in a file.

Binger declined to make a deal, saying the address of a murder defendant is a public record.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys provided Schroeder with Rittenhouse’s current address in a February 3 filing with a request that it be kept secret. Binger said the address is just a PO box.

“That is completely unacceptable,” Binger wrote in a short reply.

Kenosha became embroiled in violent protests that lasted for several nights in August after a white police officer shot Blake, paralyzing him from the waist down.

Prosecutors allege that Rittenhouse, who is white and 17 at the time, responded to a call from a group on social media to protect Kenosha’s businesses. During a demonstration on the night of August 25, Rittenhouse allegedly opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle at Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz, killing Rosenbaum and Huber and wounding Grosskreutz. Prosecutors have charged Rittenhouse with multiple charges, including murder.

Rittenhouse has maintained that he fired in self-defense after Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz attacked him. Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have painted Rittenhouse as a trigger-happy white supremacist. Conservatives, upset by the destruction of property during recent protests, have portrayed him as a patriot exercising his right to bear arms.

In January, Rittenhouse was seen drinking in a Mount Pleasant bar and posing with two men while gesturing with the hands of white supremacists. Five men also serenaded him with the anthem of the neo-fascist group Proud Boys.

Rittenhouse was allowed to consume alcohol in a bar under Wisconsin law because he was with his mother.

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