Kenosha Braces for Rittenhouse Verdict

Business owners expect trouble whichever way the verdict goes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2021 3:25 PM CST
Kenosha Braces for Rittenhouse Verdict
Protesters rally outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Kenosha, Wis.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(Newser) – The fate of Kyle Rittenhouse is now in the jury's hands—and residents of Kenosha, Wisconsin are braced for trouble whether the teen is found guilty or not. Rittenhouse killed two men and wounded a third during unrest in the city in Aug. 2020 after a white police officer shot Black resident Jacob Blake. Business owners say they're worried about more violence and property damage. "No matter which way the verdict goes, somebody is going to be upset,” Lyna Postuchow, owner of flower shop A Summer’s Garden, tells NBC. "You always have to be ready because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but we hope cooler minds prevail."

The jury began deliberating Tuesday after Judge Bruce Schroeder, unusually, allowed Rittenhouse to pull slips of paper from a raffle drum to determine which 12 of the 18 people who sat in the jury box would decide the case, the AP reports. The task is normally carried out by the court clerk and lawyers said they couldn't recall another case where it was done by the defendant. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, who has placed 500 National Guard troops on standby called for calm, while the Kenosha Police Department said there are no current plans for road closures or curfews, CNN reports.

"Please respect the Kenosha community and their efforts to come together," Evers tweeted. "I ask all those who choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights in every community to do so safely and peacefully." Dozens of protesters, some pro-acquittal and others pro-conviction, gathered outside the Kenosha courthouse Tuesday. The AP reports that some talked quietly with their opponents, while others shouted insults, with one woman calling Rittenhouse supporters "white supremacists." (The judge dismissed a gun charge before closing arguments on Monday.)

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