Prosecutor Thomas Binger made the unusual argument on Monday in a Kenosha, Wisconsin county court that the mob had the “right” to chase Kyle Rittenhouse after he shot Joseph Rosenbaum, and that he had no right to defend himself against them.
Binger, delivering his closing argument in the 10-day murder trial, argued that Rittenhouse had provoked the violence that led to the shooting deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and the severe wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz near midnight on Aug. 25, 2020, during riots that were led by Black Lives Matter demonstrators in the small Midwestern city.
Though all three of the alleged victims were chasing Rittenhouse at the time, Binger portrayed them as concerned citizens trying to stop an “active shooter.” Though he argued that Rittenhouse could not reasonably believe that the first man shot, convicted child rapist Joseph Rosenbaum, would actually disarm him, Binger said the crowd was justified in trying to do so.
He argued that Rittenhouse was to blame for choosing to flee Rosenbaum into a group of parked cars, rather than an open field. And he said that Rittenhouse “callously” ignored Rosenbaum’s plight as he fled the crowd after the first shooting.
Binger argued that Rittenhouse did “nothing to demonstrate to the crowd that he isn’t a threat to kill again,” saying he should have fired warning shots. Therefore, he said, the actions of the mob of rioters who chased him were “entirely reasonable.” He added that “the crowd has the right to stop another shooting,” and was right to chase Rittenhouse, supposedly to stop him.
Thus the prosecution argued for the “right” to vigilante action — though by the crowd of rioters, not by the defendant.
However, at one point, the prosecutor admitted that Rittenhouse was acting “to save his own skin,” appearing to admit that he believed himself to be in mortal danger — a belief that, if reasonable according to the jury, would result in his acquittal.
The prosecution presented its closing arguments first, which were to be followed by the defense’s arguments, and then by the prosecution once more. Earlier, Judge Bruce Schroeder had dismissed the sole weapons charge against Rittenhouse.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.