Protesters were demonstrating for justice after Rusten Sheskey, a white, since-fired cop, shot Jacob Blake, a Black father, seven times at point-blank range, paralyzing him in front of his children two days earlier. Protest efforts were met with threats from armed men including Rittenhouse, who flew from Antioch, Illinois to respond to an alleged militia’s call to protect local businesses, according to USA Today. “We don’t have non-lethal,” Rittenhouse said in a video ABC News obtained. He also identified himself in the video as “Kyle” and asked law enforcement agents at the protest for water.
“We appreciate you guys. We really do,” one officer was seen telling Rittenhouse and other vigilantes about 15 minutes before gunfire sounded at the protest. Rittenhouse was seen in the video making a phone call, standing by one of the shooting victims, and running with a rifle. “I shot somebody,” someone was heard saying in the same video. Rittenhouse, charged in a double murder, however, was still allowed a $2 million bond and freed from jail.
A Wisconsin judge modified conditions of Rittenhouse’s release on Friday to indicate he “shall not knowingly have conduct with any person or group of persons known to harm, threaten, harass or menace others on the basis of their race, beliefs on the subject of religion, color, national origin, or gender,” according to court records USA Today obtained.
At one point in the case against him, Rittenhouse used the same attorney who represented former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Attorney John Pierce regarded the accused killer as part of a “well regulated militia” before later deciding to back out of the criminal case and only represent Rittenhouse in any civil litigation. Pierce actually alluded to “future defamation claims” Rittenhouse may pursue in an ABC News interview.