A cop filmed failing to arrest Kenosha killer Kyle Rittenhouse moments after the teen shot two men dead says he feared there was another active shooter nearby, and that Rittenhouse didn’t display a ‘surrender’ pose.
Officer Pep Moretti testified on the fourth day of the double murder trial that the sound of gunshots during the August 2020 riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was of greater concern than Rittenhouse, then 17, walking towards him with his hands up.
Moretti told jurors: ‘There was still gunfire erupting around us … so we still thought he was an active threat.’
The clip of Rittenhouse walking towards Moretti’s car with his hands up was widely-shared online, sparking fury as to why he wasn’t apprehended, and was allowed to travel back home to Illinois afterwards.
But Moretti insisted that Rittenhouse’s demeanor was unusual, and that people looking to surrender usually get on their knees.
Kenosha Officer Pep Moretti testified that he and his partner did not arrest Kyle Rittenhouse moments after the 2020 fatal shootings because of the on-going chaos and active gunfire
The officer said Rittenhouse walked up to his police car with his hands up, pictured, but the officers were dealing with active gunfire and peppers prayed the teen to get him away
He told the court: ‘In my prior experience in law enforcement, when somebody surrenders to us, they will generally put their hands up but they will take the further step and drop to their knees or they will lay in a prone position.
‘They’ll usually follow commands when they’re attempting to surrender. Never in my career have I had somebody put their hands up and continue to advance.’
Moretti added that the AR-15 rifle Rittenhouse was toting was not in itself suspicious given that he and his partner had been approached by so many armed individuals during the protests.
‘We were surrounded all night, all week. There was probably more people armed with weapons than not throughout that entire course of the civil unrest,’ Moretti said.
The officers believed Rittenhouse was yet another armed man trying to volunteer to help officers that night, but he said they grew worried when Rittenhouse continued to approach them armed with an AR-15 rifle.
When Rittenhouse failed to back up, Moretti said his partner pepper-sprayed the teen as gun fire continued to go off in the crowd and the officers grew tense.
‘It’s not uncommon for a police officer in this country to be ambushed. And given everything that was taking place, a war zone is the only way I could describe it, Moretti said.
‘We were surrounded and the city was burning and on fire.’ The Kenosha riots were sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man shot seven times after wielding a knife at cops called to reports of a domestic disturbance at his girlfriend’s house.
Rittenhouse walked up to police officers after he shoot three people, killing two. Moretti said he did not believe the teen was surrendering because he did not lie flat on the ground
Moretti added that Kenosha officers did not want armed volunteers to help them manage the crowds. He said he and his fellow officers instructed any volunteer to go home.
The officer was the last witness to testify on the fourth day following a heated cross-examination of the family of Anthony Huber, the man Rittenhouse fatally shot after killing Joseph Rosenbaum.
Rittenhouse is accused of gunning down three people with a military-style semi-automatic rifle last year, killing Rosenbaum, 36, and Huber, 26, and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, 26.
The defense claimed Huber had a violent criminal past in which he assaulted family members, threatened to ‘gut his brother like a pig’ and to burn down the family home ‘with all you f****** in it.’
This is the startling criminal history that Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense will try to bring into proceedings should the state push the notion that Huber was a ‘peaceable character.’
The jury were not present as defense attorney Corey Chirafisi addressed the judge responding to the state’s earlier attempt to paint Huber as ‘a hero’ during direct examination of Huber’s great aunt, Sarah Hughes.
According to the criminal complaints quoted by Chirafisi in one instance, Huber ‘hurled a chair,’ and armed with a butcher’s knife told his brother he would ‘gut him like a pig.’
Kyle Rittenhouse is accused of gunning down three people with a military-style semi-automatic rifle last year, killing two and injuring one
Anthony Huber had a violent criminal past in which he assaulted family members, threatened to ‘gut his brother like a pig’ and to burn down the family home ‘with all you f****** in it.’
Shortly before breaking for lunch the court heard from Anthony Huber’s great aunt, Susan Hughes (pictured) – the first ‘spark of life’ witness, brought in by the prosecution to humanize the victim
Chirafisi stated, ‘Huber told his brother he would kill him. Huber put a knife to his brother’s stomach saying he was going to gut him like a pig.
‘Huber grabbed his brother by the neck, dug his nails in and choked him for approximately ten seconds. He put a knife to his brother’s left ear and his brother felt it cut.
‘He said, ‘I’m going to burn the house down with all you f*****s in it.’
On another occasion he kicked his sister in her right hip, causing her pain and to fall.
Chirafisi stated, ‘they’re saying this is a peaceful man. If you’re saying that’s peaceful this is the [material] we will want to admit.’
Faced with this prospect the state backed away from the attempt to paint Huber a ‘hero’ so the jury will not hear details of Huber’s violent criminal past.
As Friday afternoon drew on, jurors heard that an opportunity to collect vital DNA evidence from Rittenhouse’s gun had been missed as officers were not directed to swab for evidence on the barrel despite receiving information that Huber and Rosenbaum may have both laid hands on it.
Images displayed in court show Huber grabbing Rittenhouse’s gun with his bare hands, while the defense contends that Rosenbaum made a grab for the gun’s barrel and may have been close enough to make contact – something that could have been established had DNA swabs been taken.
Questioned by Chirafisi, Officer Jeffery VanWei explained that he only swabbed the trigger and the part of the rifle most likely have been held by the shooter.
Chirafisi asked, ‘Did any detectives come to you and ask you to do additional swabs now that more information about what had happened was out there?’
The officer replied, ‘No.’
Chirafisi asked, ‘If somebody would have asked you, ‘We would like to know if there was DNA on the actual barrel of that gun,’ could you have done that? He replied, ‘Absolutely.’
Jason Lackowski was the first witness of the fourth day of the trial and is an army veteran who traveled to Kenosha to ‘protect property.’
Questioned by Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, Lackowski, who was armed with an AR-15, a knife and CS canisters that night, said that Rittenhouse’s first victim Joseph Rosenbaum asked him to shoot him several times.
Lackowski said, ‘He said ‘Shoot me,’ and used more explicit language than that.
‘He had been acting very belligerently. He had asked people very bluntly to shoot him. He did what I would call, ”false-stepping” to incite someone.’
On Binger’s request, Lackowski rose to demonstrate ‘false-stepping’ to the jurors. He lurched forward from a standing start, in a jarring movement and with his chest puffed out, then simply stepped back.
Despite this, Lackowski said he did not consider Rosenbaum a credible threat to him or anyone else. Instead, he turned his back on him and walked away.
Lackowski is the second prosecution witness whose testimony about Rosenbaum’s aggressive behavior and the chaos of the night seems only to add weight to the defense’s case that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense when he shot first him, Huber and Grosskreutz.
Lackowski is the second prosecution witness whose testimony about Rosenbaum’s aggressive behavior and the chaos of the night seems only to add weight to the defense’s case that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense when he shot first him, Huber and Grosskreutz
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum (pictured), 36, with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle after Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse across a parking lot and threw a plastic bag at him shortly before midnight on August 25, 2020
Jason Lackowski was the first witness to take the stand Friday on the fourth day of Rittenhouse’s trial
Yesterday the court heard from key witness, Daily Caller Chief Video Director Richie McGinniss, who described how Rosenbaum had ‘lunged’ for Rittenhouse’s gun having pursued him into a row of parked cars and what appeared to be ‘something of a dead end.’
McGinniss painted a compelling picture of the sporadic violence of the night as well as Rosenbaum’s erratic and ‘menacing’ behavior. And he refused to cede to Binger’s assertion that the dead man was already falling forward when Rittenhouse shot.
Under increasingly testy direct examination that at times seemed more like a cross-examination of a hostile witness, McGinniss insisted that Rosenbaum was gaining ground on Rittenhouse when he ‘lunged forward’ and attempted to grab the teen’s weapon.
He said that Rosenbaum may have been unable to stop himself from falling face down because of the shot, but would not agree that he had witnessed Rosenbaum fall before the first shot was fired
Under direct examination Lackowski described the scenes of ‘chaos’ in downtown Kenosha, earning a reprimand from the judge when he referred to, ‘the a**holes who were trying to use the protest to their own gain.’
He explained, ‘There were a lot of individuals there to legitimately protest and there were people there to instigate and I noticed there were a lot of people who were using that to cause havoc.
‘People throwing things at police, people staring fires, people with mal intent.’
He told the court that he had been trained to, ‘Shout, shove, show, shoot.’ But that he had never had to take even that second step.
Lackowski testified that Rittenhouse told him he was an EMT and that he assumed he was 18 because of that and the fact that he was carrying a firearm.
Rittenhouse’s mother, Wendy, and sister McKenzie were once again in court. They were flanked by security as they have been every day.
Both Rittenhouse and his family have a constant security detail as the teen and his family received multiple threats on their lives since the events of last summer.
Lackowski testified that Rittenhouse had run towards him after shooting all three men. He was, Lackowski said, ‘frazzled and in shock,’ but when Rittenhouse spoke he said he had NOT shot anybody but needed help. But under cross examination Lackowski said he was ‘not at all certain’ of that assertion.
Lackowski said, ‘I told him to run towards the police [vehicles]’
After that, he said, ‘I pretty much blacked out because the next thing I remember is helping Mr. Grosskreutz.’
He said, ‘I remember him being on the ground screaming. Somebody was screaming for a tourniquet. I had given that to him, he applied the tourniquet. He had done it wrong so I pushed him out of the way and applied it correctly.’
After the police showed up Lackowski said he noticed Grosskreutz’s Glock on the ground and someone walking towards it.
He said, ‘I pushed him away, picked up the firearm, dropped the magazine and emptied the chamber.’
Rosenbaum’s fiancé Kariann Swart briefly took the witness stand directly after lunch. She told the court that she had been with Rosenbaum for just over a year and recalled how she and her sister visited the site where he had been shot the morning after
Joseph Rosenbaum, in the red shirt, front center, and Anthony Huber, in the blue hat behind Rosenbaum, are seen at the riots confronting armed men
Rosenbaum’s fiancé Kariann Swart briefly took the witness stand directly after lunch. She told the court that she had been with Rosenbaum for just over a year and recalled how she and her sister visited the site where he had been shot the morning after.
She said, ‘We went over to the Car Source and there was this mark where Joe had lain. I put my hand in it and my hand was wet with his blood and…I collapsed to the ground.’
Swart had received a telephone call telling her that Rosenbaum was dead at around 4am she said.
She said, ‘I fell to my knees and cried.’
Rosenbaum had visited Swart earlier in the day and she had ‘explicitly told him’ not to go downtown that night because the ‘whole city was up in flames.’
She said that the visit had been ‘pleasant’ and that he had been ‘excited’ to ‘work on the relationship and work on himself.’
When he left he told her he loved her.
Rosenbaum had been released from a psychiatric hospital that morning following a domestic assault and suicide attempt. He could not stay with Swart as she had a restraining order against him.
Earlier the defense had unsuccessfully argued to have that information put before the jury.
But today, in another point scored by the defense with a state witness, the jury heard details of Rosenbaum’s mental health issues for the first time.
The jury was asked to leave the room while Chirafisi questioned Swart regarding the medication Rosenbaum took.
She said she did not know them all but knew that he was on Gabapentin, Effexor and Seroquil – medications for bi-polar disorder, depression and a sleep disorder respectively.
On hearing this Judge Schroeder deemed the information admissible and recalled the jury to continue her testimony.
A second juror in the trial was dismissed Friday. The juror who is pregnant asked to be removed at the start of the fourth day of testimony due to medical reasons.
Juror 27 was dismissed without issue and Judge Bruce Schroeder wished her well before seating the remaining jurors.
Car Source owner Amnol Khindri took the witness box mid Friday afternoon. In often conflicting, confused testimony he denied ever asking Rittenhouse or any of the other vigilantes on any of his family’s three properties that evening
Car Source owner Amnol Khindri took the witness box mid Friday afternoon. In often conflicting, confused testimony he denied ever asking Rittenhouse or any of the other vigilantes on any of his family’s three properties that evening.
Earlier in the week Dominick Black testified that he had spoken with Khindri on just that matter.
He denied seeing a text sent by Rittenhouse to his cell phone on the afternoon of August 25 in which the teenager offered armed protection to the Car Source properties.
The text, shown on a screen in court, read, ‘Hi Sam [Amnol’s nickname] It’s Kyle do you need anyone to protect your business tonight I’m more than willing and will be armed I just need address. Me and my brother would both be there armed.’
Khindri also initially denied communicating with Rittenhouse at all, before admitting that he had spoken with him earlier in the day when Rittenhouse had offered to fundraise for his company and had taken his cell phone number.
Under both direct and cross examination Khindri was often evasive, frequently appearing to default to the response that he did not understand direct questions.
Asked by Chirafisi if he was concerned that his family might be open to prosecution if they had given permission for armed men to be on their property when a man was ultimately shot there, he said he did not.
Under cross-examination and increasingly frustrated Chirafisi attempted to pin Khindri down to straight answers to straight questions.
He denied providing a ladder for the men who positioned themselves on the roof and denied seeing them on his property one moment then admitted in the next breath that he had seen a group of armed men, of which Rittenhouse was part, being photographed with his brother.
At the beginning of cross examination, he claimed that all of the property was insured and suggested that he was resigned to shouldering any loss or damage caused by the protesters.
He said he did not know the extent of loss to inventory.
Chirafisi rounded on him and stated quite bluntly that neither of those statements were true.
The attorney pulled up an interview given by Khindri shortly after the night of August 25. In it Khindir stated that 137 cars had been destroyed and estimated losses of $2.5million.
He told the reporter that the insurance company was not paying out. Chirafisi said, ‘You testified under oath that you had insurance for this. That’s not true. One of the first questions I asked was about your loss and you said you had insurance…but not for those vehicles due to arson, correct?’
Khindri answered quietly, ‘I’m not understanding the question.’
Lackowski claimed Joseph Rosenbaum screamed ‘Shoot me N*****’ and ‘false-stepped’ towards strangers to incite a violent response during the riots
Juror 27 was dismissed Friday without issue and Judge Bruce Schroeder wished her well before seating the remaining jurors
Shortly before breaking for lunch the court heard from Anthony Huber’s great aunt, Susan Hughes – the first ‘spark of life’ witness, brought in by the prosecution to humanize the victim.
She recalled her great nephew as a man with whom she shared a ‘special bond,’ rarely without the skateboard that he rode whenever possible.
She said that his ‘vision’ was to build an indoor skatepark in downtown Kenosha.
She also recalled how Huber told her that he knew Jacob Blake – the black man whose shooting by a Kenosha police officer led to the nights of protest and rioting at which Rittenhouse shot Huber and Rosenbaum dead and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz.
Jurors at the Kenosha shooter’s trial heard jolting audio of the first four shots fired by Kyle Rittenhouse on the night of August 25, 2020
She said that she had seen Huber on the day he was shot and told him to be back by curfew.
Rittenhouse is accused of gunning down three people with a military-style semi-automatic rifle last year, killing two and injuring one
Jurors heard startling testimony as Ryan Balch took the stand Thursday afternoon. Balch, a self-avowed ‘boogaloo boi’ had traveled to Kenosha to ‘police’ the community after hearing of the protests and riots that had taken place across the previous nights.
According to Balch, Rosenbaum made the threats within ear-shot of Rittenhouse who had quickly attached himself to Balch and the two spent much of the evening side by side.
Rittenhouse was by Balch’s side when Rosenbaum ‘got in his face’ ‘yelling and screaming.’
In direct testimony Balch told Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, ‘He was yelling and screaming. I said, ”Dude back up, chill out.”
The court then heard that Rosenbaum turned to Balch and said, ‘If I catch any of you guys alone tonight I’m going to f***ing kill you.’
According to Balch, ‘the defendant was close enough to hear what was said.’
Later that night Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse down in a pursuit that ended when the younger man turned on him and fired off four shots, shooting him dead.
Earlier in his testimony Balch, a military veteran who was armed with an AR-15 and wearing body armor that night, characterized Rosenbaum as, ‘hyper-aggressive and acting out in a violent manner.’
He said, ‘He was always having to be restrained by someone. The crowd was pretty good about getting in between him and whoever it was.
‘If he landed a blow I didn’t see it, but he definitely wanted to.’
In contrast Balch described Rittenhouse – whom he believed to be 19 years old – as ‘underexperienced and underequipped.’
He said, ‘He seemed like an impressionable kid. I felt like as young as he looked and the general way he was carrying himself the protesters would have seen that as a weakness and tried to exploit that.’
In a moment of levity Balch recalled the only direct encounter he witnessed between Rittenhouse and a protester. He said, ‘He had one exchange that I saw. Just some random person in the crowd yelled, ‘F*** you!’
Balch said Rittenhouse replied, ‘I love you too ma’am.’
Balch told the court that he mistakenly believed the hospital bag that Rosenbaum was carrying to contain ammonia and bleach – the ingredients for a Molotov cocktail.
Daily Caller Chief Video Director Richie McGinniss (pictured) took the witness stand Thursday morning as a prosecution witness. He claimed Rittenhouse victim Joseph Rosenbaum ‘lunged towards the muzzle’ of Rittenhouse’s gun in the moment the teen levelled it towards him and shot
Jurors heard the startling testimony as Ryan Balch took the stand Thursday afternoon. Balch, a self-avowed ‘boogaloo boi’ had traveled to Kenosha to ‘police’ the community after hearing of the protests and riots that had taken place across the previous nights
Earlier in the day Thursday Daily Caller Chief Video Director Richie McGinniss took the stand to testify that Joseph Rosenbaum ‘lunged towards the muzzle’ of Kyle Rittenhouse’s weapon in the moment the teen leveled it towards him and shot.
McGinniss had traveled to Kenosha to cover the unrest following the shooting of Jacob Blake and was so close to the shooting on August 25, 2020, that Rittenhouse has been charged with reckless endangerment.
He told the court he followed Rosenbaum’s pursuit of Rittenhouse because he sensed that ‘something newsworthy’ was about to happen after seeing Rittenhouse running carrying a fire extinguisher in one hand and his AR-15 in the other.
McGinniss had been called as a state witness, but if he had hoped that McGinniss would further his case Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger was disappointed. At times his direct examination seemed more like a contentious cross.
McGinniss detailed the events of the night as he had witnessed them chronicling the ‘menacing’ atmosphere and random violence up to the point where he found himself just feet behind Rosenbaum as Rittenhouse turned to face him.
Binger focused in on the moment that Rittenhouse pulled the trigger – suggesting that Rosenbaum was already ‘falling forward’ when the first shot was taken, a key element to the state’s contention that Rosenbaum was no threat and that the shooting was therefore not self-defense.
But McGinniss pushed back, with testimony that rendered him more a witness for the defense than the state.
Indeed DailyMail.com has learned that McGinniss, who gave a host of interviews to right-wing outlets in the days following the shooting, was seen speaking with the defense team in a Kenosha hotel last night.
McGinniss said, ‘It’s unclear to me whether the shots were the reason he was falling because he lunged as the shots were fired. Perhaps it was the shots that caused him to fall forward.
‘He was lunging, falling, I would use those as synonymous terms – he threw his momentum towards the weapon. His momentum was going forward and that’s the point at which he fired the shots.’
The defense claims Rittenhouse tried to turn himself in for shooting Rosenbaum, but was seized by a mob, including Huber, who they claimed tried to ‘decapitate’ Rittenhouse
Binger badgered McGinniss to cede the point and agree with him that Rosenbaum was falling when the shots were fired but despite an increasingly tense examination McGinniss would not be swayed.
He insisted that Rosenbaum ‘lunged’ towards the rifle and that it was in that moment that Rittenhouse, ‘levelled [his gun] at Mr. Rosenbaum and fired.’
McGinniss went onto recall how he attempted to comfort Rosenbaum as he sped to hospital with the dying man in the back of a stranger’s car.
He said, ‘I was telling him we were going to have a beer together afterwards and that it was all doing to be okay. I believe that when I was talking, I like to think, that he could hear me.
‘It seemed that his eye was looking at me but it was kind of rolling back and when I started talking it kind of rolled back towards me, looking at me.
‘He was having difficulty breathing.’
McGinniss revealed that the crowd were so ‘animated’ and angry that he was punched in the face as he tried to load Rosenbaum into the car.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group