By ARFCOM user Austrian
The Kenosha Shootings / Kyle Rittenhouse: A Tactical and Legal Analysis WARNING: Bandwidth Intensive
By now the majority of you will have seen or heard of the pair of engagements in Kenosha, Wisconsin (hereinafter the “Engagements”) between one Kyle Rittenhouse and a number of other individuals, some recently departed, others now unfortunately unable to operate a keyboard with any efficiency, particularly when proper capitalization is required of their typewritten text. In the wake of these encounters it is quite something to see the degree of bad information, misinformation, and disinformation that has showered the socialinterwebsitetubes, particularly from a tactical and legal perspective.
On the tactical side, it is surprising that matters seem so distorted, since the Engagements must rank among the most comprehensively filmed deadly force CQB incidents in some years (and one of the only engagements in recent memory involving an AR system). In fact, despite the poor lighting conditions, the mobile nature of the camera operators (none, to my knowledge, trained combat photographers), and the chaos of small unit action that will be familiar to anyone who has been in the midst of it, it is possible to view the most cogent parts of the engagement in vivid detail, from multiple camera angles, and with stereo sound. On the legal side, well, many new expert commentators may lack a formal law degree, but they did stay at a Holiday Inn Express (7887 94th Ave, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, 53158) and probably ordered several on-demand Better Call Saul episodes the night before the Engagements besides.
Given the sudden merger of two subjects of great interest to me, and a five hour phone call I had with an old acquaintance now an employee of the Federal Government of the United States based not far from Wisconsin, I could not but look into the Engagements more carefully. Having done so, I could not but type up my analysis. Having done so I could not but seek a forum for publication.
Alas, my efforts to interest the American Journal of Jurisprudence https://academic.oup.com/ajj resulted in threats of a restraining order (I am convinced that a prior incident, in theory long forgotten, involving a senior official at the Law School of the University of Notre Dame, a poker game, and a young woman with binoculars may have contributed to the misunderstanding). Naturally, having exhausted my backup options, I reverted to my first choice in scholarly publication excellence: ARFCOM.
Some Administrative Details:
After action reports compiled by third parties are notoriously subject to error. Often it is difficult to assign certainty levels to statements in such reports as the authors decline to qualify their language. It seems excessive to use analytic confidence terms (high confidence, moderate confidence, etc.) in such a scholarly article, and so where I believe a good deal of uncertainty exists I will so denote using brackets with a question mark. For example:
Jeffrey Epstein didn’t hang himself. (Reasonably high confidence)
[The check is in the mail.]? (Low confidence)
[The check]? is in the mail. (Something is in the mail, but who knows if it is the check?)
I assembled 22 videos from various public sources and one non-public source. Most were high resolution originals (i.e. not streams recorded from third parties). Most videos were high-quality 1270×720 resolution captures (i.e. Twitter standard or better). Many were contemporaneous recordings of the Engagements. I also collected 46 photos taken at various times and places. For geographic detail I consulted Google Maps and various overhead imagery sources (Google Maps, Google Earth, and a proprietary service). With respect to videos documenting the actual Engagements, for detailed analysis, and to accurately record the timeline, I created a single real-time composite video using Adobe Premiere Pro. The final video includes side-by-side / quad-frame video to display multiple sources simultaneously where timelines of single videos overlapped. Where possible, timeline sync between videos was accomplished via sound sync (gunshots provided the most distinctive reference points). In two cases video sync via sound was lagged to compensate for acoustic lag due to the distance between videographers.
The final composite video is 1566MB at full resolution and so, regrettably, I cannot share it in this forum. Please contract me directly if you have a compelling interest (rather than idle curiosity) to view it.
Other images and video presented herein are done so under the limited audience/scholarly or research purpose “Fair Use” copyright exception.
Background Prior to the Engagements:
At least one source indicates Rittenhouse’s father may be a police officer in or near Antioch. Pictures from various social media accounts appear to show Rittenhouse handling firearms (particularly AR platforms) from a young age (7-10 years).
The Antioch Fire Department acknowledged that Rittenhouse was a “Fire Protection Cadet” at one point.
According to the Grayslake Police Department Rittenhouse was a member of the joint Public Safety Cadet Program for the Lindenhurst, Grayslake, and Hainesville police departments. The program offered ride-along sessions as well as firearms training, though it is not clear how extensive these elements were or to what extent Rittenhouse participated.
It appears that Rittenhouse attended a Trump rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on 30 January 2020.
Most sources indicate that, at all relevant times immediately relevant to the Engagements, Kyle Rittenhouse was 17 years old. The first degree murder complaint filed against him in Antioch, Illinois on 26 August 2020 lists his date of birth as 3 January 2003, “504” in height ([5’04”]?), and 150 pounds.
Rittenhouse is described as a resident of Antioch, Illinois, a municipality 19-20 miles from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Some sources indicate that Rittenhouse drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin, though the timing of his departure/arrival is unclear.
At least one photo prior to the Engagements shows an unarmed Rittenhouse helping to clean Black Lives Matter graffiti off of property.
In a video before (perhaps immediately before) the Engagements, Rittenhouse is seen explaining to Daily Caller reporter/cameraman Richie McGinniss that he is there to “help people” and “protect property,” but that he may also go “into harm’s way.” Rittenhouse indicates the AR-15 platform rifle topped with some red dot / holographic site variant (the magnification optics from prior Rittenhouse photos have been replaced with an [EOTech]?) which he is carrying via a [single point]? sling. A polymer, 30-round magazine is prominently visible, though no spare magazines appear to be carried.
In the video Rittenhouse makes a point of indicating his “medkit” as well, an orange and black bag also slung crosswise across his shoulder. In the interview video, and for the duration of the Engagements, Rittenhouse is seen wearing blue/purple (likely nitrile) gloves.
Another video by independent reporter/journalist Elijah Schaffer apparently filmed in a similar timeframe to the McGinniss video has Rittenhouse explaining his presence in a similar way. In response to a question by the reporter about non-lethal munitions Rittenhouse indicates that he is not carrying any (the implication being that Rittenhouse is prepared to use deadly force). The interview ends as Rittenhouse spies an apparently wounded individual being carried along.
“Medical,” he calls. “[EMS]? right here. I’m an EMT.” At this point in the video Rittenhouse pushes past the reporter to reach the injured party. It is not clear if Rittenhouse is actually a certified EMT, or if he would have obtained such certification via his status as a “Fire Protection Cadet,” though it should be noted that trained but not yet certified ambulance staff are often referred to as “EMTs” despite the lack for formal certification.
In another video Rittenhouse is seen apparently in the company of, if not affiliated with, one group of armed individuals. The group appears to be attached to/protecting a local business with the windows boarded up. Rittenhouse and the members of the group can be heard interacting with local police who indicate their appreciation for the group’s presence.