Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Courthouse security increased in Kenosha

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse begins on Monday, Nov. 1, and there will be a noticeable increase in security around the Kenosha County Courthouse when jury selection gets underway.

Rittenhouse faces a total of seven charges. The most serious charges are for killing two people – Joesph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber – and injuring a third person, Gaige Grosskreutz, during a night of unrest in Kenosha in August 2020. 

All eyes will once again be on this community, and that is why there will be an increase in law enforcement presence. According to the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department, the increased police presence will focus around the Kenosha County Courthouse campus. There will also be an increase in security inside the courthouse.

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In a news release issued on Friday, Oct. 29, the sheriff's department said: "Our responsibility to public safety is of the utmost importance. These measures are meant to ensure the safety of the public and civic center employees."

According to a judge's court order, it is anticipated 150 jurors will be summoned for this trial. Seventy to 80 of those jurors will be present in the courtroom for examination. Twenty jurors will be seated for the trial.

Kenosha County Courthouse

Kenosha County Courthouse

Jury selection is expected to last two days. The actual trial is expected to last two weeks.

Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against him. His attorneys are claiming he was acting in self-defense. 

There will be a media staging area west of the courthouse near 56th Street and 10th Avenue. Only credentialed members of the media will be allowed to park there. By the latest count, more than a dozen media outlets will be covering the Rittenhouse trial. Court TV will be providing the camera feed from inside the courtroom.

Community prepares

Kenosha City Administrator John Morrissey said he has been in daily communication with the police department about security plans during the trial.

"Let the process play out. We’re extremely fortunate to be in the United States where we have the ability to have trials and just that’s my wish, that, you know, everybody lets it play out that it needs to legally," Morrissey said. "I’m confident in our police department that they have the security plan in place. I’m sure the sheriff does in the trial."

After the destruction during August 2020's unrest, the activist group Leaders of Kenosha is urging any protests to remain peaceful.

"We don’t want any community destruction, property destruction. We don’t want any more lives lost or harmed," said Tanya Mclean, the group's director.

Jacob Blake's uncle, Justin Blake, said he plans to be outside of the courthouse every day to show support for the Huber and Rosenbaum families.

"Please, eat right, say your prayers, because it’s going to be a long week and big battle for us.," said Blake.

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