News & Politics

The Next Nick Sandmann? Defamed Covington Kid's Lawyer Takes Up the Case of Kyle Rittenhouse

AP Photo/Morry Gash

On Thursday, L. Lin Wood, one of the lawyers who represented Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student defamed by many media outlets, announced he would take up the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old boy who opened fire at Kenosha rioters — apparently in self-defense — and was arrested under suspicion for first-degree intentional homicide. As in Sandmann’s case, many media outlets and political figures have demonized Rittenhouse, with some calling him a “white supremacist” despite the lack of any evidence.

“Thanks to ALL Freedom Loving Americans who responded to requests for contact information on Kyle Rittenhouse. We have connected with Kyle’s family & help is on the way. Kyle will have excellent legal representation. We owe him a legal defense,” Wood tweeted.

“Many others will need your help in coming days. Stay strong. Continue to speak truth. Continue to demand justice under our Constitution. Continue to be fearless,” the lawyer advised. “Most important of all, continue to pray for your fellow citizens. Pray for our President. Pray for our country. And always, always, always [fight back].”

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Wait. Didn’t Kyle Rittenhouse shoot people?

On Tuesday night, Rittenhouse left his home in Antioch, Ill., and traveled 15 miles to Kenosha. He told reporters on the ground that he intended to defend property from the violent rioters who engaged in looting and arson across Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. He ended up shooting three people and killing two, and police arrested him on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide.

While many media outlets and commentators rushed to condemn Rittenhouse as a white supremacist and a murderer, a thorough investigation of videos from the scene suggests that when the 17-year-old boy opened fire, he did so in self-defense.

Rittenhouse, apparently inspired by some form of vigilante justice, should not have gone to Kenosha in the first place. However, it does seem he only shot the rioters in self-defense. Earlier in the night, the 17-year-old boy had provided medical assistance to rioters whom police hit with pepper spray. The New York Times analyzed Rittenhouse’s movements throughout the night and found that in both of the shootings, the boy was acting in self-defense.

The boy spoke with many journalists before the incidents, and said “he was protecting a local vehicle dealership together with several other armed men. He also offers medical assistance to protesters,” The Times‘s Christiaan Triebert tweeted.

The Times synchronized six livestreams, revealing that there were two separate shooting incidents, one and a half minutes apart, involving multiple gunmen.

At 11:19 p.m., rioters chase Rittenhouse into a parking lot. While the rioters pursue him, one throws something toward Rittenhouse and an unknown gunman fires the first shot into the air.

 

In the video, “Rittenhouse turns toward the sound of the gunfire as another pursuer lunges toward him. He then fires four times with his assault rifle, and appears to shoot the man in the head,” Triebert narrated. Contrary to my initial reporting from preliminary information, it appears Rittenhouse was not the first one to open fire, and he only pulled the trigger after getting pursued by an angry mob.

Also contrary to my previous reporting, this shooting did not take place at the dealership Rittenhouse said he was protecting but rather at a separate dealership about four blocks away. Police had prevented the 17-year-old boy from returning to the original dealership.

Police identified the man shot in the head as Joseph Rosenbaum, a white registered sex-offender who taunted armed black civilians, saying, “shoot me, n***a.”

“While fleeing from the scene, Rittenhouse is again chased by several people. He trips and falls to the ground and fires four shots as three people rush him. One person appears to be hit in the chest, while another, who is carrying a handgun, is hit in the arm,” Triebert tweeted. This second shooting, like the first, appears to be a clear case of self-defense.

Even in this second altercation, the 17-year-old boy was not the only one firing a weapon. “At the same time, we hear at least 8 gunshots from farther away. Mr. Rittenhouse gets up and begins walking north from the scene, and 8 more gunshots are heard from closer range. It’s unclear who fired the other gunshots.”

Leon Wolf, an attorney and managing editor at The Blaze, summed up the insanity of charging Rittenhouse with first-degree murder.

“Rittenhouse was being chased by a group of angry adults who were throwing things at him, and he hears a nearby gunshot. For all he knows, the shot might have been intended for him. As Rittenhouse was looking around attempting to locate the source of the sound, Rosenbaum charged him,” Wolf wrote. “If you, as a prosecuting attorney, are aware of these facts and come away with the conclusion that a first-degree murder charge is warranted, then you need to turn in your law license. Putting aside Rittenhouse’s clearly viable claim to self-defense, the facts of the case simply don’t fit that charge.”

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A white supremacist?

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) described Kyle Rittenhouse as a “17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist,” claiming he “shot and killed 2 people who had assembled to affirm the value, dignity, and worth of Black lives.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) retweeted the accusation.

AOC likes Ayanna Pressley tweet calling Kyle Rittenhouse a "white supremacist"
Twitter screenshot

When Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) noted that “Innocent people, who had nothing to do with the police shooting in Wisconsin, are being targeted and terrorized by arsonists, vandals, looters, and rioters,” CNN host Ana Navarro-Cardenas responded with, “Marco, let me fix this for you: Innocent people, who had nothing to do with the police shooting in Wisconsin, are being targeted and terrorized AND MURDERED by white supremacist teen-agers with big-a** guns.”

There is no evidence that Kyle Rittenhouse was a white supremacist, however.

Triebert noted that the 17-year-old boy’s “social media profiles proclaim support for pro-police causes like the Blue Lives Matter movement and Humanize the Badge. Other posts show him taking backyard target practice, posing with guns and assembling a military-style semi-automatic rifle.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) told CBS News that it found “no indication from Rittenhouse’s social media footprint that he is connected to any extremist movements.”

As Triebert noted, Rittenhouse gladly helped protesters and rioters after police had hit them with pepper-spray.

While the teenager should not have gone to Kenosha looking for trouble, it seems he is neither a murderer nor a white supremacist.

The case of Kyle Rittenhouse involves many unanswered questions, but as of now, it really does seem strikingly similar to the story of Nick Sandmann, a teenager whose reputation was destroyed because he fit a narrative many left-leaning reporters were desperate to tell.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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