Prosecutors are asking for a judge to modify accused killer Kyle Rittenhouse’s bond after he was allegedly caught on surveillance footage posing for pictures while flashing a known white supremacy sign in a Wisconsin bar this week.
The white teenager is accused of opening fire on three people, killing two, during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25 over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The controversial shooting has drawn support for Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, as he has since been embraced by some conservatives who view him as a patriot, The Associated Press reported. The teen's family has even created “Free Kyle” merchandise to raise money for his defense, Kenosha News reported.
Rittenhouse, 18, has been freed on a $2 million cash bond as he is awaiting trial on five felony charges. Since his release, he’s been spotted with his mother at Pudgy’s Pub in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, WISN reports. Surveillance footage shows him drinking alcohol — in Wisconsin, those age 18 to 20 can legally drink with a parent, guardian or spouse that is of legal drinking age — and also fraternizing with people who apparently align with white supremacy.
Wearing a shirt with the slogan "Free as F---,” Rittenhouse has posed for photos with bargoers. Footage appears to show him flashing an “OK” hand gesture. The Anti-Defamation League added such a symbol to its Hate on Display database in 2019.
On Wednesday, Kenosha prosecutors filed a bond modification motion asking that Rittenhouse both be barred from drinking and from associating with white supremacist groups while he is awaiting his trial, Kenosha News reports. The motion alleges that security video from the bar shows that “the defendant and the other adults flashed the ‘OK’ sign used by known white supremacists.”
The motion also alleges that Rittenhouse was “loudly serenaded by five of the adult males in his group" with "Proud of Your Boy,” a song originally written for "Aladdin" that has reportedly been co-opted as an anthem of the far-right, neo-fascist group the Proud Boys. Prosecutors noted that they fear that perceived association to white supremacy groups could intimate possible witnesses.
Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards argued that his client “is not currently and has not ever been a member” of the Proud Boys or any white supremacist group in a filed response obtained by Kenosha News.
Richards called the accusations “a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to inject the issue of race.”
Rittenhouse has also been accused of aligning himself with an armed militia group prior to the deadly August shootings, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, Anthony Huber, 26, were killed and Gaige Grosskreutz was injured during the incident involving Rittenhouse. The teen has pleaded not guilty to all charges and claims self-defense.
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