Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Chicago Police cancel officers’ days off amid fear of unrest over verdict

The Chicago Police Department cancels scheduled days off beginning Friday as the prosecution rests its case against Rittenhouse

Megan Sheets
Wednesday 10 November 2021 15:47 GMT
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Chicago is gearing up for unrest in the event Kyle Rittenhouse is acquitted of homicide charges.

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) cancelled all scheduled days off for all personnel beginning this Friday.

Mr Rittenhouse, 18, is standing trial for killing two men and wounding a third on 25 August 2020 during protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, about 65 miles north of Chicago.

The prosecution rested its case on Tuesday and the defence is expected to wrap up by next week before the case is submitted to a jury. Mr Rittenhouse faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

While Mr Rittenhouse and the men he shot were all White, the case stirred a fevered racial debate over the defendant’s portrayal as a vigilante rather than a killer.

The CPD memo cancelling days off from Friday makes no mention of Mr Rittenhouse, however the move is understood to be in anticipation of unrest surrounding the verdict.

“All RDO [regular day off] personnel will be attired in the prescribed regulation field uniform of the day, including helmet, baton and yellow safety vest,” First Deputy Police Supt Eric Carter wrote in the memo obtained by the Chicago Sun Times.

A CPD spokesman said all full-duty sworn members will have one day off cancelled between November 12 and 15 “to enhance public safety and to address crime patterns” in a statement to Newsweek.

Fraternal Order of Police President John Cataranza condemned the cancellation in a YouTube video, accusing the department of giving insufficient notice.

“There was no notice. They do not get to just keep saying: ‘We need manpower just in case, you know, a verdict doesn’t go positive’ and, all of a sudden, there’s upheaval,” Mr Catanzara said.

The memo emerged on the sixth day of Mr Rittenhouse’s trial on charges including homicide and being a minor in possession of a weapon.

Mr Rittenhouse’s attorneys have argued that he acted in self defence when he shot Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz with a semi-automatic rifle. Mr Rosenbaum, 36, and Mr Huber, 26, died.

The defence contends that Mr Rittenhouse, then 17, had travelled to Kenosha from his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, in a bid to help quell violence around Black Lives Matter protests that erupted in response to the police shooting of Mr Blake. They said he only fired his rifle because he was under threat from a mob of rioters.

The prosecution, however, has painted Mr Rittenhouse as an instigator of the violence who lied about being a certified medic to others at the protest.

Prosecutors rested their case on Tuesday as reports emerged Mr Rittenhouse could take the stand for his defence later this week.

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