No curfew for Kenosha ahead of Rittenhouse verdict

Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP

We still don’t know how long the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial will deliberate before being ready to render a verdict. For that matter, we don’t even know if the verdict will be read. (More on that in a moment.) But law enforcement in the city of Kenosha appears to be taking a laid-back approach toward the possibility of unrest or riots in the streets once the outcome is known. The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department released a statement to the media yesterday indicating that they don’t see any need for residents to “change their daily routines” ahead of the possible verdict so they won’t be imposing any curfews. They also don’t plan to close any roads or regulate traffic flow in the streets. They’re sounding pretty confident that they will have matters under control at this point, but is that confidence really justified? (Channel 3000)

Law enforcement in Kenosha says there is no reason for residents to change their daily routines and they have no plans to institute curfews at this time as the jury nears a verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

In a statement Tuesday, the Kenosha Co. Sheriff’s Department said it had worked to improve its response to large-scale events following last year’s demonstrations. The Department said it does not see a reason for road closures or curfews at this time.

“We have also strengthened our existing relationships with State and Federal resources,” the department said. “We have and will continue to be engaged with our community leaders.”

It’s good that the Sheriff’s Department is trying to learn from the “large-scale events” (they mean riots) last year. If they have really improved their response times and have set up contingency plans with state and federal law enforcement resources, that’s probably going to give them a better chance at keeping things under control.

But is doing pretty much nothing but their normal patrols really the way to go? Keep in mind that the Governor has already stationed more than 500 National Guard troops on the outskirts of town. Perhaps those are some of the “state resources” that the Sheriff was referring to, but it still sounds as if the Governor is taking the potential for renewed violence a lot more seriously.

If Rittenhouse is acquitted, there are already plenty of signs that things are going to get ugly. Both the judge in the case and the defense attorneys have been receiving numerous threats of death or other violence throughout the course of the trial. The threats against Judge Bruce Schroeder have been particularly disturbing, including threats to kill not only him but his children as well.

The judge presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse trial has been slammed as a racist and had his life threatened in a torrent of abusive and menacing emails, letters, postcards and faxes received by Kenosha County Courthouse and seen by has reviewed the hundreds of offensive communications sent to Judge Bruce Schroeder, and today we can reveal the extraordinary outpouring of vitriol that the high-profile trial has inspired.

Curiously, many of the threatening emails, faxes, and voicemails have made references to the judge being “a racist,” including accusations that he wears Klan robes under his judge’s robes. Perhaps some of these people don’t realize that Kyle Rittenhouse is white and so were the people he shot during the riot? It’s hard to say. But if there are that many people threatening violence, isn’t it reasonable to assume that at least some of them might try to carry through with those threats if the prosecutors can’t land a guilty verdict?

Of course, all of the preparations or lack thereof may not matter very much if there isn’t a verdict rendered. That may still be possible because the defense has requested a mistrial based on claims that the prosecution withheld high-quality drone video footage of the events in question, instead giving the defense a grainy, very low-resolution video. Rittenhouse’s lawyers claim that the better footage would have further exonerated their client.

The judge hasn’t ruled on the mistrial request yet. And at least according to some legal analysts, he may not rule until the jury returns. If they come back and aren’t allowed to reveal the verdict they reached because the trial is being thrown out, you can expect a different sort of mayhem to break out. Rittenhouse’s attorneys are also asking that the possibility of a retrial be banned, effectively allowing Rittenhouse to walk free on all charges. And if that’s the case, with the decision being removed from the hands of the jury, Kenosha is probably going to need a lot more than just a curfew to keep things under control.

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