KENOSHA — Kenosha County prosecutors are attempting to modify Kyle Rittenhouse's bond agreement after they say the 18-year-old flashed white-power signs while posing for photos, drank several beers and was 'loudly serenaded' with the Proud Boys' official song at a Mount Pleasant bar.
Rittenhouse, who is charged with shooting and killing two people and injuring a third during protests and unrest in Kenosha last summer, was released from Kenosha County Jail on a $2 million bond. That bond agreement, in its current state, does not restrict Rittenhouse from entering a bar or drinking alcohol - as those underage are allowed to do in the company of parents in Wisconsin - nor does it stop him from fraternizing with known members of white supremacist groups.
Rittenhouse's attorneys argue he fired his rifle in self-defense. In a statement to TMJ4 on Thursday, Rittenhouse's attorney, Mark D. Richards, writes that Rittenhouse does not object to a bond condition restricting alcohol consumption, but rejected any connection between Rittenhouse and white supremacists groups.
In a motion to modify Rittenhouse's bond Wednesday, the Kenosha County District Attorney's Office details Rittenhouse's Jan. 5 visit to Pudgy’s Pub with his mother. Rittenhouse stopped at the Mount Pleasant tavern shortly after pleading not guilty to homicide charges in connection to the Kenosha shooting.
The prosecutors are now asking Rittenhouse's bond be changed to include the following:
- The defendant shall be prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol.
- The defendant shall not be present in any establishment where alcohol is served.
- The defendant shall be prohibited from making any public display of any “white power" or “white supremacy” signs, symbols, or hand gestures.
- The defendant shall have no contact with any known militia members or known members of any violent white power/white supremacist groups or organizations, including but not limited to the group identified as the “Proud Boys.”
According to documents from Kenosha prosecutors Wednesday, Rittenhouse, his mother and several other adults arrived at Pudgy's Pub on Washington Avenue. Local law enforcement was soon notified of Rittenhouse's presence there, and later gathered surveillance video and still footage of his visit to the bar. [Those photos are included in this article].
Rittenhouse was at the bar for about an hour and a half, prosecutors say. He wore a t-shirt that read "Free as F***."
After arriving outside at the bar, Rittenhouse posed for photos with two other men in his group. In these photos, Rittenhouse and the other men flashed the "OK" sign, which has been co-opted as a "white power" sign by white supremacists, according to prosecutors.
After posing for the photos, Rittenhouse entered the bar and was served a beer by the bartender, the motion states. He consumed a total of three beers in the time he was at Pudgy's.
Within a few minutes of entering the bar, Rittenhouse was also "loudly serenaded" by five adult men in his group with the song, "Proud of Your Boy" - an obscure song written for the 1992 Disney film "Aladdin," prosecutors state.
The white supremacist group, the Proud Boys, was in fact named after this song, and the song is sung by members of the group, the motion says.
Rittenhouse posed for several more photographs with the men in the bar. In each of these photos, Rittenhouse and the other men flashed the "OK" sign used by white supremacists, according to prosecutors.
"The defendant then remained with these 'Proud Boys' for the entire time he was in the bar," the motion states.
Motion to modify Rittenhouse's bond
Prosecutors thus argue in their motion that Rittenhouse first should not be allowed to possess or consume alcohol. They state that Rittenhouse was 17 when he allegedly shot the three victims; that he is now 18 and an Illinois resident; that consumption can increase the likelihood of violent, criminal acts - combined with the reality that Rittenhouse is accused of the most serious criminal offense in Wisconsin, first-degree intentional homicide, they argue.
Prosecutors also argue Rittenhouse should be restricted from associating with known militia members or known members of any violent, white power or white supremacist groups. They argue that the group has advocated for violence, has been involved in extremist rallies and movements, and its members have been arrested for committing crimes.
Prosecutors write: "The defendant’s continued association with members of a group that prides itself on violence, and the use of their symbols, raises the significant possibility of future harm. Further, this association may serve to intimidate potential witnesses, who may be unwilling to testify in this case because they may fear that the defendant’s associates [will] harm them or their families."
Rittenhouse will be back in Kenosha County Court on March 10 for his final pre-trial appearance.
Rittenhouse's attorney issued the following statement:
1. Mr. Rittenhouse does not object to a bond condition prohibiting the possession or consumption of alcohol.
2. Mr. Rittenhouse is not currently and has not ever been a member of any of the organizations the State lists in its motion.
3. The known complainants in this matter are all Caucasian males.
4. The State has done an extensive search of all of Mr. Rittenhouse’s social media as part of its investigation in this case. Upon information and belief, no information linking Mr. Rittenhouse to the listed organizations has been found.
5. Additionally, the State has presented no evidence of Mr. Rittenhouse visiting any of the listed organizations’ websites.
6. The State’s bond motion is a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to interject the issue of race into a case that is about a person’s right to self-defense.
7. Nonetheless, as Mr. Rittenhouse has no membership, affiliation, or affinity for any of the identified groups, the defense has no objection to a bond modification prohibiting Kyle Rittenhouse from having any knowing contact with any known hate groups or their members.