Judge Bruce Schroeder, who is presiding over the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, has tossed out a charge of possession of a dangerous weapon because technically, based on Wisconsin law, the AR-style gun he brought across state lines wasn’t “short-barreled,” so apparently it does not count as dangerous. This is in spite of the fact that Rittenhouse killed two people with it and injured another, which is the reason he’s on trial right now.

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Those watching this trial closely widely feel that this is yet another sign that Judge Schroeder is favoring the defense and that this trial will end with not guilty verdicts on the murder charges. The judge blamed the Wisconsin law for his decision to dismiss the charge, saying that it was poorly written in the first place. The prosecution also conceded that the gun Rittenhouse used to kill people had a longer barrel than outlined in the law.

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Rittenhouse was 17 when he drove across state lines to Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020 where an uprising was taking place against racist police brutality following a police officer’s shooting of Jacob Blake in the back, leaving him paralyzed. Many assumed he would easily be found guilty of at least improper possession of a firearm by a minor, but it now seems even this misdemeanor charge was too much to ask.

The decision to throw out this charge was announced by Schroeder even before the closing arguments for the trial began. Both the prosecution and defense have now given their final comments and Schroeder has given his instructions to the jury, which included allowing them to consider lesser charges than the two first-degree homicide and one attempted first-degree homicide that the now 18-year-old faces. The jury may begin its deliberations later today.

Judge Schroeder has become a highly controversial figure during this trial, with those on the side of the prosecution accusing him of essentially becoming another defense attorney for Rittenhouse. First, he ruled that the people killed by the defendant could not be referred to as “victims,” which is fairly standard for any trial, but that they could be called things like “rioters,” “looters,” and “arsonists” by the defense.

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During the trial, he raised eyebrows by leaving his phone ringer on at work, and it turned out his ringtone is what has come to be the theme song for Donald Trump’s political rallies. He has also repeatedly yelled at the prosecution for various issues he believes there to be with their actions, at one point dismissing the whole jury to do so, getting to a point that one of the prosecutors expressed feeling that they were being unfairly targeted.

To top it off, he made a weird comment about “Asian food” being late coming in for lunch on Friday, apparently missing the memo that Asia is a massive continent featuring an incredibly diverse array of cultures and that the people from those cultures are tired of all being lumped into the term “Asian.”

At this point, racial justice activists have a grim view of the future outcome of this trial.

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*First Published: November 15, 2021, 11:23 am