Bail for Kyle Rittenhouse set at $2 million in Kenosha protest shooting
By Mark Guarino
Bail for Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teenager accused of killing two men during protests over a police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was set at $2 million on Monday as Rittenhouse made a first appearance in a Wisconsin court.
The father of one of the men who died urged the court not to allow Rittenhouse’s release, warning that he is a flight risk. “Kyle Rittenhouse thinks he’s above the law and he’s been treated as such by law enforcement,” said John Huber, the father of Anthony M. Huber, who was killed in the shooting.
Rittenhouse has become a cause célèbre for conservatives who insist he acted in self-defense, and donations have poured into a legal-defense fund on his behalf. Even President Donald Trump suggested shortly after the shooting that Rittenhouse’s actions were legitimate. “He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like,” Trump said in a news conference in August.
Rittenhouse, 17, has been charged with six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide, for the shooting on Aug. 25 that left two protesters dead and a third injured. The shooting occurred after a clash between demonstrators, who were protesting a white police officer’s shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black Kenosha resident, and armed civilians with guns who said they had come to downtown Kenosha to protect businesses and private property after two nights of fires, looting and destruction.
The hearing on Monday afternoon came as Trump was scheduled to hold a rally at the Kenosha Regional Airport on the final day of campaigning before Tuesday’s election. A protest against Trump’s appearance was set for Monday evening outside the Kenosha County courthouse, where protesters had demonstrated in August.
Rittenhouse spent nearly two months without bail in an Illinois detention center while his lawyers fought to prevent him from being returned to Wisconsin to face the criminal charges.
According to records filed as part of Rittenhouse’s arrest, he turned himself in to the police in Illinois, near his home, the day after the shooting. Rittenhouse was accompanied by his mother, the records show, and was crying at points.
“I shot two white kids,” he told the police, according to the records. Rittenhouse also told the police he had been “hired to protect businesses in Kenosha during the riots and had to protect himself,” the report said.
Sam Olejcik, the owner of an auto repair business near where the initial shooting took place, has said he did not hire Rittenhouse to protect his business.
Rittenhouse remained in custody Monday afternoon, as bail had not been posted. If he were to be released, the court commissioner overseeing the hearing ordered Rittenhouse not to have contact with families of the men who were shot or to possess a weapon.