The nature of the criminal justice system is often conflicting. It’s a place where victims are forced to give up their rights in order to put perpetrators behind bars, and defendants are afforded every opportunity to defend themselves against accusations. Yet, there are still many gray areas that must be navigated without much help from the law itself. Such is the case with Kyle Rittenhouse he shot two men during last year’s Baltimore riots, but his defense may hinge on whether or not they could legally be called rioters or looters.
As the riots erupted on April 27, 2015, so did social media. Twitter and Facebook were teeming with posts from people who witnessed the civil unrest within Charm City. Rittenhouse wasn’t an exception. He took to his public Facebook page, but after a few posts about family, friends and work he started posting about thuggery.
One of his first posts included a video showing looters breaking the window of a 7-11 and later swarming the store to steal its wares:
It’s important to note that Rittenhouse had a history of violence and run-ins with the law. In April 2009, he was charged with attempted first degree murder in Baltimore County and in August 2009 he faced unlawful possession of a weapon charges when police reported finding two loaded handguns in his car when he was stopped for driving under the influence.
At the time of his arrest, Rittenhouse was a part-time student at Morgan State University and worked full-time at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. He also did some side gigs as an electrician.
After the riots started, Rittenhouse posted several videos of the unrest on his Facebook page, but neither mentioned nor made threats. It wasn’t until April 30th that Rittenhouse got involved in the conflict himself.
While some people were trying to quell violence and defend local businesses, Rittenhouse went on a shooting spree. According to police, he shot a man named Leo Vincent Jones and a man who has chosen to remain unidentified. Both were black males from Baltimore City, but it’s unclear whether or not either was involved with the riots.
In an interview with Fox45 , Mr. Jones said that his injuries were so serious he almost died. He added that he was grateful to be here.
Rittenhouse’s defense attorney, Charles N. Curlett Jr., has said his client was a victim of circumstance because he reacted in a way many people have been reacting [to the riots. He even called Rittenhouse a hero for trying to stop the looting.