On Thursday, a Wisconsin circuit court judge denied a request by Kenosha prosecutors for a warrant to rearrest and increase the bail of the fascist killer Kyle Rittenhouse by $200,000. The motion was filed after it was revealed that the teenage shooter had violated his release agreement by concealing his whereabouts from the court.
Judge Bruce E. Schroeder abruptly shut down the virtual hearing after he sided with Rittenhouse and his attorney Mark Richards and repeatedly interrupted Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Thomas Binger’s attempt to explain that the accused murderer was “thumbing his nose” at the terms of his bond.
The judge also blocked attempts by Binger—as well as others attending the virtual hearing—to establish the connection between Rittenhouse and his attorney with far-right political groups who have promoted the killer as a hero and raised the $2 million needed for him to post bond.
Participating in the virtual hearing was John Huber, the father of Anthony Huber who was shot and killed, Kimberly Motley, attorney for the family of Joseph Rosenbaum who was shot and killed, and Gaige Grosskreutz, who was shot and survived.
During his time to speak, John Huber said of Rittenhouse, “From the moment he became a killer, he thought he was above the law. And he has no remorse for what he’s done, and he is enjoying this media circus and the support from these hate groups and militia members that have posted this bond. It’s not like his mom and dad put up the family house to get him out. He has nothing to lose if he runs. … he should be remanded to custody. … We don’t know where he is. You don’t know where he is. Nobody in that court knows where he lives.”
Although Judge Schroeder permitted Rittenhouse’s victims to speak, it became clear in the course of the hearing that he had absolutely no intention of ruling in favor of the ADA’s motion against the right-wing shooter.
In the noteworthy conclusion to his ruling, Judge Schroeder acknowledged that Rittenhouse was in violation of the court order regarding his whereabouts and demanded that the residence of the accused shooter be disclosed. However, Judge Schroeder ruled that this information was only to be provided to himself and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s office. It was to be kept concealed from ADA Binger, “unless you offer good reason” to have it, the judge said.
In justifying this extraordinary decision, Schroeder expressed his hostility to the protesters against police violence that Rittenhouse has been charged with firing upon, wounding and killing. Claiming he wanted to keep everyone “safe,” Schroeder went on a diatribe, saying, “You remember what went on six months ago here? I’ve got two broken windows right here in this courtroom. The doors are all still covered with plywood. A good share of the community is still boarded up after millions of dollars of property damage in this ghastly event.”
Given that a survivor of Rittenhouse’s shooting spree of death and permanent injury was in the hearing, these were very revealing statements as to the political sympathies of Judge Schroeder.
Responding to Judge Schroeder’s decision to conceal the whereabouts of Rittenhouse from prosecutors, ADA Binger protested, “This is standard procedure in all criminal cases that everybody knows where the defendant is. This is highly unusual for this to be withheld under seal. The court has ruled that it can be sealed from the public, but we are not the public.
“We are the prosecuting agency; we are the prosecutors on this case, and we have a very important right to know this information as the prosecuting agency in Kenosha County. I have never heard of a situation where this information has been withheld from our office. … Our office is headed up by the elected DA, the chief law enforcement officer in this community. This is a murder case, and we are entitled to this information. … This is highly irregular. … We cannot do our job without this information.”
To these arguments, Judge Schroeder said, “The hearing is over. Thank you.”
It is also significant that the hearing did not address the reports earlier this week that a Kenosha Police Department officer advised attorneys representing Rittenhouse to falsify information regarding his residence at the time of his release on bail in November.
Rittenhouse faces charges for multiple offenses—including first degree intentional homicide in the death of Huber, first degree reckless homicide in the death of Rosenbaum and first degree attempted intentional homicide in the shooting of Grosskreutz on August 25 during protests against police violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse, 17 years old at the time of the shootings, traveled to Kenosha from his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, to join a group of fascist militiamen for the purpose of threatening protesters and engaging them in provocations.
During several confrontations that evening with demonstrators—who were demanding justice for Jacob Blake who had been shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha police officer two days earlier—Rittenhouse fired his AR-15 style assault rifle numerous times, killing two and wounding at least one other.
Following the shootings, Rittenhouse was permitted by police to flee the scene unimpeded and he traveled back to Antioch where he turned himself in to police early the next morning. After photos and video of the confrontations Rittenhouse had with protesters began circulating on social media, far-right and fascist individuals and organizations came to his defense and embraced him as a hero.
The motion for Rittenhouse to be rearrested and his bond increased also followed revelations that the shooter had posing with members of the fascist Proud Boys organization and flashed a “white power” hand gesture shortly after he pleaded not guilty to charges against him in a remote court hearing on January 5.
In another significant exchange during the hearing, when ADA Binger referred to the fact that Rittenhouse’s behavior was alarming, that he had flashed white supremacist signs and that protesters in Kenosha had called for his bond to be revoked, Judge Schroeder went into another tirade, “I don’t want to hear about protests. I don’t want to deal with media reports. … I want everybody to act in a way that maximizes the possibility of fairness in this case, fairness to everyone who is involved. This case is not going to be decided by demonstrators of one type or another and frankly it’s not going to affect anything I do. … I don’t want to hear about a demonstration last weekend.”