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Peaceful protesters march through downtown in solidarity with Jacob Blake on Aug. 27, 2020 in Portland, Oregon.Nathan Howard/Getty Images

A high-profile lawyer representing the 17-year-old shooter charged with killing two protesters and wounding another during demonstrations on the streets of Kenosha, Wis., said on Friday that his client had acted in self-defence.

Atlanta-based lawyer Lin Wood said video footage of the shooting would vindicate Kyle Rittenhouse despite what he described as misinformation being spread by the media.

“Kyle Rittenhouse acted in self-defence. Murder charges are factually unsupportable. An egregious miscarriage of justice is occurring with respect to this 17-year old boy,” Mr. Wood said on Twitter.

Mr. Rittenhouse, who prosecutors say travelled 30 miles to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Ill., before the shooting at about 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday, is charged with six criminal counts, including homicide and attempted homicide.

A Lake County, Ill., county judge on Friday postponed his extradition to Wisconsin while Mr. Rittenhouse arranged a private legal team.

Mr. Rittenhouse, a former YMCA lifeguard who is being held without bond, did not appear for the livestreamed hearing, said Lee Filas, a spokesman for the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.

In Kenosha, volunteers helped business owners clean up after days of rioting and arson that followed the shooting in the back of a Black man, 29-year-old Jacob Blake, by a white police officer, some painting “Black Lives Matter” or “We Love Kenosha” on boarded up storefronts.

“I’m angry,” said factory worker John Hall, as he helped paint messages on a storefront. “Some people who did this don’t even live here. This is the only stores that we have.”

Mr. Hall, a father of three who moved to Kenosha from Chicago eight years ago to raise his children in a safer community, said the painted messages were meant to signal hope, adding: “Slowly but surely we will get this back and rebuild.”


The shooting of Mr. Blake in front of three of his children has turned Kenosha, a predominantly white city of about 100,000 people on Lake Michigan, into the latest flashpoint in a summer of nationwide protests over police brutality and racism.

It also galvanized protesters who gathered in Washington on Friday to commemorate the 1963 march where Martin Luther King Jr made his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

The summer of protests ignited after video footage showed a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a Black man, George Floyd. Mr. Floyd later died and the since-fired officer has been charged with murder.

Mr. Blake, who was left paralyzed by the shooting, had been shackled to a hospital bed because of an outstanding arrest warrant on three domestic abuse-related charges, including trespassing and third-degree sexual assault.

The handcuffs were removed on Friday and officers guarding Mr. Blake stood down after the warrant was vacated, his laywer, Pat Cafferty, told Reuters.

The criminal complaint against the teenage shooting suspect, Mr. Rittenhouse, charges him with firing an assault-style rifle at three protesters who tried to subdue him, killing two of them: 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, 26.

It references several videos recorded by witnesses, including one in which Mr. Rittenhouse is seen telephoning a friend from the scene and telling them: “I just killed somebody.”


The complaint also contains evidence likely to be used in Mr. Rittenhouse’s defense. Citing the videos and witnesses, it says both Mr. Huber and Mr. Rosenbaum appeared to try to grab the teenager’s rifle before being shot.

In Kenosha, three nights of skirmishes between protesters and police gave way on Wednesday and Thursday to smaller, peaceful demonstrations.

But more than 1,000 National Guard members were on the ground on Friday in case of further violence, Major-General Paul Knapp told a news conference. Protesters have planned a march through the city for Friday afternoon.

Protesters have demanded that criminal charges be filed against three police officers involved in Mr. Blake’s arrest and shooting. Authorities say officer Rusten Sheskey fired all seven shots at Mr. Blake’s back. Mr. Sheskey has been placed on leave.

The Wisconsin Justice Department, which is handling the investigation, said on Friday that Mr. Sheskey and another officer, Vincent Arenas, attempted to stop Mr. Blake with Tasers before Mr. Sheskey discharged his gun.

It was the first time the identity of Arenas, a Kenosha police officer since February, 2019, was disclosed. The department identified the third officer as Brittany Meronek, who joined the force last January.

The sequence of events leading to Mr. Blake’s shooting remained sketchy.

Wisconsin Attorney-General Josh Kaul said earlier this week that police were seeking Mr. Blake following a domestic complaint lodged by a girlfriend and that investigators recovered a knife from the floor of the car that Mr. Blake was leaning into when he was shot.

Mr. Blake’s lead lawyer, Ben Crump, has said his client had no knife in his possession and did not provoke or threaten police.

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