KENOSHA, Wisconsin—While jurors debate behind closed doors for the third day over whether to acquit or convict Kyle Rittenhouse, residents in the mid-sized city are bracing for trouble.
“I think a lot of it, just like last year, is people from out of town,” Stacy Grulich, a local, told The Epoch Times. “I think there’s gonna be trouble.”
Grulich’s daughter attends Reuther Central High School, which moved classes online as preparation for potential unrest.
If the school had not, Grulich would have pulled her daughter out.
She still recalls what happened last year after Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer after resisting arrest and refusing to drop a knife he was holding. Buildings near Grulich’s home were among those burned down during the rioting that took place.
“Stay home and lock the doors,” another resident, who declined to be named, told The Epoch Times. “There were fights down there yesterday,” the resident added, referring to outside the Kenosha County Courthouse.
As jurors deliberated inside, fights broke out among those gathered near the doors on Wednesday. Kenosha law enforcement officials said two people were arrested; a 20-year-old man was accused of battery, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest while a 34-year-old woman was taken into custody after allegedly engaging in disorderly conduct.
Thursday was relatively quiet, and cold, near freezing. By 9:40 a.m., only 11 protesters were outside the courthouse, two of whom appeared to support Rittenhouse.
One of them, David Graham, has a knife. He said he often goes to events like these. He came from Ohio.
“I’ve been here for a few days. It doesn’t have to burn and people don’t have to be trampled over by the judicial system,” Graham told The Epoch Times outside the courthouse.
He held a banner with “Unity not Fracture” and “Truth” written on it.
Graham hoped for peace but said “there’s a chance for the town to be smoke tonight no matter what the verdict is.”
By Jackson Elliott and Zachary Stieber