Poll: Democrats want Kyle convicted, others disagree as Rittenhouse testifies


Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand Wednesday in his own defense in Kenosha, Wis. (Screen snip, YouTube, PBS)

As Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he is on trial for multiple counts including homicide, a new Rasmussen survey released almost simultaneously revealed that 59 percent of Democrats think the teen should be convicted.

However, Rasmussen says 50 percent of identified Republicans, 40 percent of Independents and 20 percent of Democrats think Rittenhouse—who fatally shot two men and wounded a third during an Aug. 25, 2020 riot in Kenosha—should be acquitted. Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, has pleaded self-defense.

Killed that night were Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26. Wounded was 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz. ABC has been streaming the court proceedings live.

Overall, according to the Rasmussen survey, 37 percent of likely voters believe the jury should convict but a nearly equal 36 percent think the jury should find Rittenhouse not guilty.

Rittenhouse broke down on the stand when he described the events of that night, leading to his firing the AR-15 rifle he was carrying. It was while Rittenhouse was on the stand that Judge Bruce Schroeder delivered a scathing admonishment to prosecutor Thomas Binger for what USA Today termed “his lines of questioning.” Binger was asking Rittenhouse a series of questions about whether he knew lethal force was not allowed to protect property. The prosecutor continued asking questions almost to the point of monotony, at which point the judge interrupted.

Under Wisconsin statute, “A person is privileged to threaten or intentionally use force against another for the purpose of preventing or terminating what the person reasonably believes to be an unlawful interference with his or her person by such other person. The actor may intentionally use only such force or threat thereof as the actor reasonably believes is necessary to prevent or terminate the interference. The actor may not intentionally use force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm unless the actor reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.”

In another section of the same statute, the language states, “A person who engages in unlawful conduct of a type likely to provoke others to attack him or her and thereby does provoke an attack is not entitled to claim the privilege of self-defense against such attack, except when the attack which ensues is of a type causing the person engaging in the unlawful conduct to reasonably believe that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. In such a case, the person engaging in the unlawful conduct is privileged to act in self-defense, but the person is not privileged to resort to the use of force intended or likely to cause death to the person’s assailant unless the person reasonably believes he or she has exhausted every other reasonable means to escape from or otherwise avoid death or great bodily harm at the hands of his or her assailant.”

Rittenhouse’s defense attorneys returned from lunch recess to ask for a mistrial with prejudice. If Judge Schroeder grants the motion, the state may not re-file charges against Rittenhouse. The judge said he would take the motion under advisement.


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