In a legal filing denounced by Kyle Rittenhouse’s attorney as “just another day in the Orwellian cancel culture,” Kenosha County prosecutors have accused Rittenhouse of flashing “white power” signs when he visited a Wisconsin bar earlier this month.
The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office claims that what to the untrained eye might look like Rittenhouse flashing the “OK” sign when he posed for pictures was actually a racist gesture, according to WTMJ-TV.
Prosecutors also want to ensure Rittenhouse does not again enter a bar and is prevented from ever interacting with alleged white supremacists.
The facts of the matter are not in question. On Jan. 5, Rittenhouse and his mother visited Pudgy’s Pub in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, after pleading not guilty to homicide charges lodged against him in connection with shootings that took place in Kenosha this summer.
Rittenhouse consumed three beers. Even though he is only 18, that’s legal under Wisconsin law for a minor when accompanied by a parent.
He posed for pictures with some men in the bar and clearly made a gesture that prosecutors insist was a “white power” sign.
— New York Post (@nypost) January 14, 2021
Five men in the bar later sang the song, “Proud of Your Boy” from the 1992 Disney film “Aladdin.” Prosecutors interpreted this as Rittenhouse being “loudly serenaded” and noted that the song is sometimes sung by members of the Proud Boys, a far-right political organization.
“The defendant then remained with these ‘Proud Boys’ for the entire time he was in the bar,” the prosecutors’ motion said.
Insisting that such conduct could not be allowed, prosecutors want Rittenhouse banned from bars and not even allowed to possess or consume alcohol.
Prosecutors further demand that Rittenhouse be banned from “making any public display of any ‘white power’ or ‘white supremacy’ signs, symbols, or hand gestures.”
The prosecution’s motion also wants Rittenhouse’s bond amended to say that he “shall have no contact with any known militia members or known members of any violent white power/white supremacist groups or organizations, including but not limited to the group identified as the ‘Proud Boys.'”
“The defendant’s continued association with members of a group that prides itself on violence, and the use of their symbols, raises the significant possibility of future harm. Further, this association may serve to intimidate potential witnesses, who may be unwilling to testify in this case because they may fear that the defendant’s associates [will] harm them or their families.”
“If Kenosha prosecutors think they are protecting the State of Wisconsin by preventing 18 year-olds from legally drinking beer with their parents present, we are in very strange times indeed,” Pierce said in a statement.
“And if multibillion[-dollar] corporations want to continue to defame Kyle Rittenhouse as a White supremacist, they will pay dearly. (Although if I were their general counsel, I would advise they research these things a bit deeper before they publish).”
“Other than that, just another day in the Orwellian cancel culture we find ourselves in right now. We look forward to Kyle’s acquittal at trial, and to then holding accountable those who have engaged in the most brazen campaign of defamation in history in a vicious attempt to destroy an innocent young man’s life for clicks and political gain,” he added.
Mark D. Richards, who is representing Rittenhouse in the murder trial, said there is no objection over the alcohol issue, but he was not OK with the white power allegations.
“The State’s bond motion is a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to interject the issue of race into a case that is about a person’s right to self-defense,” he wrote in a filing.
“Nonetheless, as Mr. Rittenhouse has no membership, affiliation, or affinity for any of the identified groups, the defense has no objection to a bond modification prohibiting Kyle Rittenhouse from having any knowing contact with any known hate groups or their members.”
Richards said prosecutors know their claims are bogus.
“Mr. Rittenhouse is not currently and has not ever been a member of any of the organizations the State lists in its motion,” he wrote.
“The State has done an extensive search of all of Mr. Rittenhouse’s social media as part of its investigation in this case. Upon information and belief, no information linking Mr. Rittenhouse to the listed organizations has been found. Additionally, the State has presented no evidence of Mr. Rittenhouse visiting any of the listed organizations’ websites.”
Rittenhouse returns to Kenosha County Court on March 10 for a last pre-trial appearance.
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