Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Police remove man armed with a rifle from outside courthouse

Police officers were seen escorting the armed man away from the front of the Kenosha County Courthouse in Wisconsin on Wednesday morning

Rachel Sharp
Wednesday 17 November 2021 15:56
Analysis: Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial
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Police officers have been seen removing a man armed with a rifle from outside the courthouse where the jury is deciding the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse.

The protester, who calls himself “Maserati Mike”, was dressed in khaki body armour and was carrying a rifle slung across his body and a bullhorn.

He was escorted away from the steps of the Kenosha County Courthouse in Wisconsin on Wednesday morning and put his rifle away at the request of the officers.

Video posted online by Fox News shows the man being questioned by two Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department officers and admitting that he doesn’t have a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon and is within 1,000 feet of a school.

The officers are seen asking the man for identification and for his permit to carry a concealed weapon.

“Do you have ID on you or CCW?” one of the officer asks, in reference to the concealed carry weapons (CCW) licence.

He replies: “Absolutely - I have ID on me.”

“Do you have a valid CCW?” the officer asks, to which he replies: “No.”

“You’re within 1,000 feet of a school which you cannot be with a rifle without a CCW,” the officer tells him.

“So if you want to be here you’re going to have to put the rifle away.”

The officers then lead the man away to check his identification away from a group of camera crews who have gathered around.

“Maserati Mike” has been a regular fixture outside the courthouse during the trial, positioning himself with his dog and a bullhorn and shouting that Black Lives Matter is a “terrorist organization”, according to the New York Times. His dog was not present with him on Wednesday.

Wisconsin is an open-carry state meaning that it is legal for people aged 18 and over to carry any legal firearm openly in the state as long as they are not banned from possessing a firearm under state and federal laws.

However, schools are designated gun-free zones meaning that an individual cannot carry a firearm on or within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school.

Possessing a firearm within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school is subject to a Class B forfeiture.

Residents must be 21 and need a Wisconsin Concealed Weapons License (CWL) to concealed carry a firearm.

A spokesperson for the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department told The Independent that the armed man was talked to by the officers and the situation was resolved.

“The man put his rifle away voluntarily. We did not take any further action,” the spokesperson said.

On Tuesday, supporters of Mr Rittenhouse faced off against Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters outside the court, shouting opposing chants.

Tensions boiled over at one point when a man wearing a hat with a cartoon of Donald Trump as the “Punisher” was filmed shoving a Black man.

Kenosha officials and business owners are preparing for potential unrest in the wake of the verdict, which could come anytime as jurors began a second day of deliberations on Wednesday.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has placed 500 National Guard troops on standby and urged anyone who chooses to exercise their First Amendment rights “to do so safely and peacefully”.

The man carrying a rifle outside the Kenosha County Courthouse where the jury continues deliberations

Meanwhile, some stores and businesses have boarded up their fronts.

Mr Rittenhouse is charged with five felony counts for shooting dead Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and shooting and injuring 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz.

A misdemeanour charge of possessing a weapon while under the age of 18 was dropped on Monday after the judge granted a defence motion to dismiss to dismiss it.

If convicted, Mr Rittenhouse could face life in prison

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