The Wisconsin judge presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse case ruled on Monday that the men shot and killed by Rittenhouse cannot be described as “victims.” Instead, they must be referred to as “rioters,” “looters,” or “arsonists” in the upcoming trial.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder decided the prosecution team cannot use “pejorative terms,” such as “victims,” to describe the men Rittenhouse shot because it is “loaded” language.
Schroeder advised the defense team to only use “rioters,” “looters,” or “arsonists,” if there is evidence they partook in those actions, until closing arguments.
“He can demonize them if he wants, if he thinks it will win points with the jury,” in his closing arguments, Schroeder said.
However, prosecutors argued that the terms allowed by the judge are “more loaded, than the term victim,” according to The Hill.
“The terms that I’m identifying here such as rioter, looter and arsonist are as loaded, if not more loaded, than the term victim,” Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said.
This comes after then-17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was accused of killing two people and injuring a third during a Black Lives Matter protest in August 2020 in Kenosha, Wis.
Rittenhouse, an Illinois resident, was in Kenosha volunteering to secure businesses around the area after violent protestors rioted and looted the city following the death of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse argues he was acting in self-defense when the shooting occurred.
#FightBack Foundation, an organization that raised funds for Rittenhouse’s legal defense, released a video in 2020 showing Rittenhouse aiding injured protestors during the night of the violent riot and then being chased by violent protesters.
“A 17-year-old American citizen is being sacrificed by politicians,” the narrator in the video said. “But it’s not Kyle Rittenhouse they’re after; their end game is to strip away the Constitutional right of all citizens to defend our communities, our personal property, our lives, and the lives of our loved ones.”
Rittenhouse’s trial is set to commence next week where he faces the possibility of life in prison, if convicted.