KENOSHA — The Rainbow Push Coalition's National Field Director, Bishop Tavis Grant, held a rally with members of Jacob Blake's family outside the Kenosha County Courthouse as the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse began on Monday.
Grant said in a statement that they are there to advocate on the behalf of Jacob Blake, who was shot and paralyzed by a Kenosha police officer last summer. That shooting sparked the protests and unrest in Kenosha, during which Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two people and injured another.
Small crowd outside #RittenhouseTrial this morning as jury selection begins. Rev. Bishop Tavis L. Grant, II of Rainbow Pu$h Coalition says @RevJJackson will in town at some point this week outside the Kenosha County Courthouse. pic.twitter.com/dQYX1vifRP— Bruce Harrison (@BruceHarrisonTV) November 1, 2021
Rittenhouse's defense argues he fired in self defense. He was charged with intentional homicide, reckless homicide, among other charges to which he pleaded not guilty to.
Jury selection for the trial began on Monday, with legal experts expecting the trial itself to begin mid-week. The judge has set aside two weeks for the trial this November.
Bishop Grant was joined by Justin Blake as well as local pastors and activists outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, where they held a rally.
Grant's statement reads in part:
"We in the civil rights community consider Kyle Rittenhouse a domestic terrorist who took the lives of two victims and maimed another for life. We consider this trial a turning point in the discourse of social justice and reforming the criminal justice system. The judge has made it apparent that he wants to give this defendant an unusual degree of benefit of doubt and opportunity. Kyle Rittenhouse has been lauded by some in our nation as a hero. He has been coddled and comforted with money and motivation and we must expose this cancer for what it is. We cannot sit as spectators and be entertained by the sensationalist."
Pro-Rittenhouse supporters also showed up to the courthouse on Monday.
"I'm here to show support for Kyle Rittenhouse," says Emily Cahill from the Chicago area. "And to say self defense is not a crime."