KENOSHA, Wisconsin. As the jury has been discussing behind closed doors for the third day on whether to acquit or convict Kyle Rittenhouse, the residents of the middle town are preparing for trouble.
“I think a lot of them, like last year, are people from other cities,” local resident Stacey Grulich told The Epoch Times. “I think there will be problems.”
Grulich’s daughter is attending Reuter Central High School, which has moved classes online in preparation for potential riots.
If not for the school, Grulich would have pulled out his daughter.
She still recalls what happened last year after Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer after resisting arrest and refusing to drop the knife he was holding. The buildings near Grulich’s house were among those burned down during the riots.
“Stay home and lock your doors,” another resident told The Epoch Times, who declined to give his name. “There were fights yesterday,” the resident added, referring to the Kenosha County Courthouse.
As the jury sat inside, a fight broke out between those gathered at the door on Wednesday. Kenoshi’s law enforcement officials said two people were arrested; A 20-year-old man was charged with battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and a 34-year-old woman was detained on suspicion of disorderly conduct.
Thursday turned out to be relatively quiet and cold, on the verge of zero. By 9:40 am, there were only 11 protesters outside the courthouse, two of whom appeared to have supported Rittenhouse.
One of them, David Graham, has a knife. He said he often goes to such events. He came from Ohio.
“I’ve been here for several days. It should not burn and people should not be trampled by the judicial system, ”Graham told The Epoch Times in front of the courthouse.
He was holding a poster that read “Unity, not fracture” and “Truth.”
Graham hoped for peace, but said: “There is a chance the city will smoke today, regardless of the verdict.”
Los Angeles-based Brandon Lescaut said he flew to Kenosha to support Rittenhouse.
Lescaut said that Rittenhouse “went there not to fight, but to defend Kenosha.”
Opposing groups attacked the courthouse. Some support the teenager who shot three men outside a car dealership on August 25, 2020. Rittenhouse and his lawyers say he acted in self-defense; videos and photographs show that all three men attacked the teenager, with one pointing a pistol at him.
Others supported the men, claiming that they had done nothing wrong.
“The jury must decide whether he is guilty or not. This man is guilty, ”local resident Charles Fonder, who called himself a friend of Joseph Rosenbaum, one of the gunmen, told The Epoch Times. “My cousin is now in prison for murder,” he added.
Some people gathered near the building were not familiar with all the circumstances of the case. Bishop Grant Tavis of the Rainbow Push Coalition, founded by the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., falsely claimed that Rittenhouse was the only one to go out last year with a gun.
Rittenhouse was charged with reckless murder in the first degree, premeditated murder in the first degree, and reckless encroachment on security. The jury does not have a set timetable for adjudicating charges.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Kenosha Police Department said they are contacting local, state and federal partners to make sure Kenosha is safe after the verdict is announced.
“We currently have no reason to promote road closures, impose curfews or ask our communities to change their daily routines,” the agencies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers authorized the deployment of 500 National Guard troops. However, they are not in Kenosha.
“We stand ready to support our communities in difficult times,” Major General Paul Knapp, Adjutant General of Wisconsin, said in a statement. “Working closely with the governor, we have mobilized about 500 soldiers to help keep the Kenosha community safe if requested by our local partners.”
Evers, a first-term Democrat, urged people outside the area to think about not going there, adding that those who do need to remain peaceful.
Christine Rowley, who lives in Kenosha and drives a Lyft car, told The Epoch Times that she was encouraged by the National Guard’s readiness, but believes 60 miles from Kenosha is too far.