What we learned from the 2nd week of the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial
Kyle Rittenhouse (left) listens to his attorney Mark Richards as he takes the stand during his trial on Wednesday in Kenosha, Wis.
In August last year protests erupted in the city of Kenosha Wisconsin following the police shooting and injuring a twenty-nine-year-old Black man. On August 25, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse went to the city from his home in Antioch Illinois with the self-proclaimed intention of acting as a medic and protecting private property. While there, he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and then shot Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz minutes later, killing Huber and injuring Grosskreutz. He is now on trial for his actions where he maintains that he acted in self-defense while the prosecution argues that his reckless actions led directly to the violence. The case appears to favor Rittenhouse as video-evidence shows Rosenbaum aggressively chasing him and the state’s witnesses offering testimony that weakens the prosecution’s case, with the worst moment for the prosecution coming during the cross- examination of Grosskreutz. Defense Attorney Chirafisi said, “It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him — advanced on him with your gun, now your hands down, pointed at him — that he fired, right?” after which Grosskreutz replied, “Correct.” The prosecution is now asking that the Jury be allowed to consider lesser charges in the hope of landing a lesser version of the first-degree homicide for the killing of Huber, Rittenhouse’s most serious charge.
Federal judge approves $626 million Flint, Michigan water settlement
In 2014 the city of Flint, Michigan switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River to cut down on costs. Corrosive river water caused lead to be stripped from the pipes and enter the water supply, resulting in an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. The contamination led to several lawsuits by parents who said their children were showing dangerously high levels of lead in their bloodstream; with lead being a toxic substance to which children are especially vulnerable. A federal judge approved a $626 million settlement on Wednesday for victims of this crisis with payouts directed towards younger claimants and those who can prove greater injury. This settlement was called a “remarkable achievement” by the U.S. District Judge Judith Levy because, “it sets forth a comprehensive compensation program and timeline that is consistent for every qualifying participant.”
New commander of Oklahoma National Guard refuses to enforce vaccine mandate
Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino notified the Oklahoma National Guard under his command that he will not enforce the Defense Department’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, allowing personnel to sidestep the policy with no repercussions. The new policy was directed by Governor Kevin Stitt and issued the same day that he installed Mancino to replace Maj. Gen. Michael C. Thompson, an avid vaccine advocate. This is another instance for Republican-led states to challenge vaccine mandates alongside multiple GOP governors filing suit against vaccine mandates for federal contractors and a Friday court ruling halting the federal mandate for private businesses. This new policy exists in a legal grey area as the governor acts as commander in chief for operations such as disaster relief while the president can give federal military orders and the guard carry out missions under his command. It currently looks as though Oklahoma Guard members can refuse the vaccine but are still subject to the requirement if put on active duty for a federally mandated assignment.