If you’ve been watching the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse or Ahmaud Arbery or both (like me), I’m sure you been riveted by the lawyers, testimonies and evidence presented.
Both cases are intense and both are trials that have the nation divided.
In the Arbery trial, questions immediately came up after the jury selected was 11 white people and one African American.
The judge even mentioned how it seemed a bit discriminatory but the trial began.
And for some the circus like atmosphere in the highly racial profile case continued as Attorney Kevin Gough argued that having Rev. Al Sharpton and Civil Rights activist Jessie Jackson in court with the Arbery family precluded his client from having a fair trial.
Gough went as far as making racially disparaging remarks the judge termed reprehensible.
Gough said the court shouldn’t allow, “anymore black pastors,” in court and after Jackson’s appearance in court this week, Gough once again asked for a mistrial and wondered who the family will bring next, Rafael Warnock maybe?
National civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the father of Ahmaud Arbery, issued the following statement, responding to criticism Gough, about Rev. Al Sharpton and other Black pastors attending the trial: “The parents of Ahmaud Arbery suffered the unspeakable loss of their son, who was hunted down, cornered and shot, for being a Black man jogging in a white neighborhood. It is not illegal or inappropriate for Black pastors to be present to support the parents of Ahmaud or any other Black victims. We are going to bring 100 Black pastors to pray with the family next week, and we welcome all those who want to show their support and add their prayers to ours.”
The judge has reached his breaking point on this matter and told the attorneys for the defendants that they are just as responsible for the actions that occur in and out of court based on their own words in court and in public.
Monday was day seven of the Arbery trial and finally got down to the business of presenting the evidence from the GBI agents. But I am certain more shenanigans will ensue.
Things got equally intense when Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand so the jury could hear his version of the events that led to the death of two men and the serious injury of another.
Judge Bruce Schroeder, has been viewed by some as being extremely biased in the case, not allowing the folks killed and injured be called victims, openly and publicly chastising the prosecutors and making disparaging remarks about Asians.
Schroeder is the longest serving state trial court judge in Wisconsin.
He is known for being a judge that upholds constitutional laws, speaks his mind, and runs his courtroom. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of him but I listened, watched and saw that, during objections, he allowed both sides to present their arguments. He may be combative and in your face but his decisions were based on the law, nothing else.
It’s interesting that the defendants in both trials are claiming self-defense.
In the Arbery case three white men are accused of hunting down a black man jogging through the neighborhood.
In the Rittenhouse trial the then 17-year-old defendant was driven to Kenosha by his mom, where he carried an AR-15 rifle claiming to help secure businesses and render first aid to those in need. He lied about being an EMT and the rioters he killed and injured are white men.
In watching both, I will say the attorneys representing Rittenhouse have made a solid case for his self-defense claim. Folks may not like it or argue if his mom had not driven him there, or if he stayed home, or if he went but without an AR-15, then those crimes he was charged for would not have happened. In the same sense the prosecutor in the Arbery case has presented a better case, in my opinion, than Gough who seems to be seeking more than just 15 minutes of national fame.
Same could be said of these three men. If instead of chasing Arbery, they would have called the cops, then it would have been handled by law enforcement.
What have, could have, should have!
I have no idea what the outcome will be. There is a lot that we the people have seen but not the respective jurors in each case. And many may argue that our legal system is seriously flawed, but again there are arguments both for and against that opinion.
But I will say that it is fascinating to watch how things play out and what these decisions could mean for future cases and state laws.
Patty Leon is senior editor of the Courier.