There has been no shortage of high-profile court cases within the United States over the last few weeks. Last month, the organizers of the "Unite The Right" rally and the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery began trials in Virginia and Georgia, respectively. This month, the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is set to begin in Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse's journey to this trial began three days after Jacob Blake was shot and paralyzed by members of the Kenosha, Wisconsin police force. In "response to a call from a Kenosha-based militia group saying it hoped to protect businesses from protesters," NPR reports that Rittenhouse traveled across state lines from Illinois to Wisconsin. Shortly after arriving, Rittenhouse was involved in a chaotic gathering that allegedly involved firebombs, looting and gunshots in the air. In the midst of the chaos, Rittenhouse fired gunshots at three other people who were out that night, Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz. Tragically, Rosenbaum and Huber were killed while Grosskreutz was wounded.
After the shooting took place, Rittenhouse was charged five felonies, including homicide and reckless endangerment. He was also charged with a misdemeanor and a curfew violation. As a result, he could spend decades in jail. However, he has plead not guilty to all charges and his attorneys are expected to argue that he acted in self-defense.
On November 1, jury selection in the high stakes trial is set to take place in Kenosha County. With that said, the trial got off to a rocky start before jury selection even began. In late October, Judge Bruce Schroeder angered many onlookers by ruling that Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz could not be characterized as "victims" during the trial, but they can be described as "arsonists" and "looters" during the trial. With that being the lead story heading into jury selection, many local residents are unsure of how this will all play out.
"I have deep concerns about how this will go, and I've been disappointed," Reverend Jonathan Barker of Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha told NPR.
"I am ready for anything."
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.