Judge in Rittenhouse case is inappropriately biased against victims

By MIA FAZIO
On November 1, 2021

Photo courtesy of Ekaterina Bolovtsova, Pexels.

On Aug. 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse was the cause of a fatal shooting during a protest against police brutality in Kenosha, Wis.. He was at the demonstration with an AR-15 in his hands, claiming it was his job to protect a car dealership within proximity to the event.

The rally developed into a more intense situation. During all of the commotion, Rittenhouse was chased by an unarmed man, Joseph Rosenbaum. He shot Rosenbaum four times, striking him in the head. Many people tried to chase down Rittenhouse, which eventually led to him shooting two more people; one in the arm, and one in the chest. The man who was shot in the chest, Anthony Huber, also died.

Two days after the shootings, Rittenhouse was arrested and charged with multiple felonies: two counts of homicide, attempted homicide, illegal possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment.

Finally, one year later, Rittenhouse’s case is beginning. Last Monday, Oct. 25, there was a very controversial ruling within the case. Judge Bruce Schroeder ruled that the people who were injured and killed in the shooting cannot be referred to as “victims” and instead should only be referred to as “looters, rioters, and arsonists,” if the defense could prove the labels to be true.

In my opinion, this is inappropriate. In the Bill of Rights, it is stated in the fifth amendment that everyone has the right to the due process of law. Bias from the person judging the case is an infringement on this right. How can there be due process of law when it is determined that language with potential to sway the jury heavily towards the defendant could be used, without allowing the same for the plaintiff’s side?

By making this ruling, Schroeder is being entirely more partisan than he ever should be in a case, especially one of such weight.

When reading the search results for the word victim, the first definition that appears is “a person harmed, injured, or killed, as a result of a crime, accident, or other event in action.” Using this definition alone, the two men killed and one injured because of Rittenhouse should be referred to as victims. They were injured and killed as a result of his horrible crime.

Something to note with this case is that, although the men who Rittenhouse shot and killed were all white, along with Rittenhouse himself, they are the ones being criticized for being involved with a protest against racially motivated violence and police brutality. The demonstration occurred shortly after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a police officer.

Rittenhouse is not being condemned for the violence he displayed at a demonstration against police brutality nearly as much as he should be. The fact that people seeking justice for racism within the systems of the United States are being portrayed as terrible criminals, while Rittenhouse, who is a murderer, is being treated more fairly is shameful for this country.

By making the ruling that the victims of Rittenhouse’s shooting should not be referred to as such, Judge Schroeder is making a seriously reprehensible choice that further exemplifies the corruption within our country’s systems.

 

mfazio@ramapo.edu

 

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