Kyle Rittenhouse – the Illinois teenager who fatally shot two demonstrators at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the police shooting of Jacob Blake – pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to felony charges including intentional homicide.
Rittenhouse, who just turned 18 on Sunday, entered the plea during a brief video hearing.
Rittenhouse is accused of leaving his home in Antioch, Illinois, before traveling to Kenosha to team up with a group of armed adult volunteers who were in the city to allegedly protect private property from demonstrators protesting the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man who was shot seven times in the back and left paralyzed.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the killings, is charged with five felonies: first degree intentional homicide in the death of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36; first degree reckless homicide of Anthony Huber, 26, attempted first degree intentional homicide of Gaige Grosskreutz, 22, as well as two counts of recklessly endangering safety, for shots fired at others.
He also faces charges of being a minor in possession of a firearm, a misdemeanor, and with violating a curfew in effect on Aug. 25, a civil citation.
Rittenhouse was armed with a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle, and allegedly killed Rosenbaum after he threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse – and missed – before coming towards him and attempting to wrestle away the rifle.
In video captured of the aftermath of the deadly altercation, various protesters can be heard shouting “get him” and “beat him up” after Rittenhouse fatally shot Rosenbaum. When Rittenhouse tried to flee down the street, he tripped and fell to the ground. Huber then struck him with his skateboard and attempted to take the rifle. Rittenhouse then opened fire, killing Huber and injuring Grosskreutz, who was armed with a handgun.
Rittenhouse turned himself in at a local police station in Antioch the morning after the shootings, where he apparently admitted to shooting protesters, according to records from the Antioch Police Department. He was with his mother when he walked into the police station before 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 26.
“I shot two white kids,” Rittenhouse reportedly admitted, adding that he had “ended a man’s life.”
Rittenhouse’s attorneys claim that their client feared death or bodily harm and acted in self-defense when he fired on demonstrators. They also claim that the charges are politically motivated and that the extradition violates the accused killer’s constitutional rights.
Conservatives and far-right figures have also sought to depict Rittenhouse as a patriot and heroic figure who took up arms to protect people and property from protesters for racial justice and against police brutality, and have raised enough money for the teenager to make his $2 million bail.
Others see Rittenhouse as a domestic terrorist and right-wing vigilante who arrived in Kenosha with the intent to incite, or even kill, protesters.
The Kenosha killings came three months after the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody, when the 46-year-old Black man was being restrained by police officers in Minneapolis in striking footage that was captured by bystanders and galvanized a massive wave of outrage and protests across the United States and worldwide.
The killing of Floyd, as well as other police-committed killings of Black people, galvanized a rapid upsurge in activism by communities opposed to systemic racism and police impunity who united under the banner of the Black Live Matter movement.
The protest movement, which was accompanied by scenes of widespread unrest in major metropolitan centers across the country unseen since the Civil Rights era, quickly became a fault line in U.S. politics. President Donald Trump blasted protesters as “terrorists” and aggressively pursued a hard-nosed message stressing the need to restore order in an unsuccessful bid to capitalize on the unrest to press his case for reelection in Wisconsin and other battleground states.
Jeff Bezos Thanks Amazon Workers And Customers For Paying For His Flight To Space
The billionaire space race chalked up one more ignoble milestone on July 20 when the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, boarded a reusable rocket his company Blue Origin built and funded, flew to the edge of space for a moment of weightlessness, and came back down to earth.
You can watch the flight and learn more about the journey here.
The Amazon founder has faced withering criticism for accumulating his massive fortune on the backs of an exploited workforce that is subject to harsh working conditions and low pay in warehouses or Fulfillment Centers where staffers must urinate in water bottles in order to meet their quotas.
In his press conference following the launch, Bezos thanked that same workforce for helping him to shoot himself into space in a move that many critics have described as a simple “joyride.”
“I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for this,” he told the crowd, which responded with laughter. “Seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every employee thank you from the bottom of my heart very much. It’s very appreciated.”
Critics on Twitter responded with derision, noting that Bezos was able to enjoy the trip at the expense of his hard-working employees.
“Thing is, employers are supposed to pay their employees, not the other way around, but that’s basically how Amazon works,” one user tweeted.
While another tweeter asked: “Maybe they’re searching space for signs of a livable wage or a way to pay their fair share of taxes?”
On Tuesday, Bezos blasted off in the sub-orbital New Shepard rocket from Texas. The date for the launch was chosen to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Members of the crew, which included his brother mark and 82-year-old female astronaut Wally Funk, brought a number of historic items on the flight, including a piece of canvas from the conceptual plane originally flown by the Wright brothers, the goggles Amelia Earhart used to fly across the Atlantic, and a brass medal made from the first hot air balloon which flew in 1783.
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”