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Kyle Rittenhouse Pleads Not Guilty to All 7 Charges in Deadly Kenosha Shooting

Rittenhouse, who just turned 18 on Sunday, entered the plea during a brief video hearing.

Elias Marat

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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.

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Adam Toledo: Chicago Police Video Shows 13-Year-Old’s Hands Were Up When Cops Shot Him

Elias Marat

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The Chicago Police Department has released gruesome footage depicting the moment that police officers fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo while his hands were up.

In new bodycam footage from the March 29 slaying, an officer pursuing Toledo can be heard shouting at the young boy to show his “f*cking hands” before shooting him a single time, leaving the boy covered in blood and gasping for air.

While the officer can be heard shouting “drop it,” the teenager appeared to have empty hands when he raised his arms in the moment before he was shot. Video also shows officers discovering a handgun near the scene.

Adam was later pronounced dead at the scene.

The video released Thursday by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability the footage from the officer who shot Toledo, along with 16 other body-warn camera video clips, two recordings of 911 calls, an incident report, and a response report, along with other materials.

The mother of Adam, Elizabeth Toledo, reported the boy one week prior to the shooting, although he did return hom on March 27 before leaving that night, reports WBEZ.  Because Adam did not have any form of identification, the family wasn’t informed by police about his death until March 31. In a GoFundMe page set up by Elizabeth, it was noted that one of Adam’s “dreams was to become a police officer.”

“It weighs heavy on our hearts to be planning our last goodbyes instead of watching him grow up and live out those dreams,” the family noted on the page.

The child has been described as having a “big imagination” and was a fan of children’s shows and zombie movies.

“Adam was really into zombies. And the zombie apocalypse. He even had this zombie apocalypse bag packed and ready to go. Some of his favorite movies and TV shows were ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,’ ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ ‘Toy Story,’ ‘Cars,’ ‘The Walking Dead,’” Elizabeth told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has appealed for calm over the release of the gruesome footage while businesses in the area have boarded up their windows in anticipation of large protests.

“We live in a city that is traumatized by a long history of police violence and misconduct,” the mayor told reporters. “So while we don’t have enough information to be the judge and jury of this particular situation, it is certainly understandable why so many of our residents are feeling that all too familiar surge of outrage and pain.”

The release of the video comes amid continuing anger and grief over the April 11 shooting of Daunte Wright by an officer in a Minneapolis suburb.

It also comes as authorities fear a new wave of protests as communities await the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer accused of killing George Floyd last May after kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

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Music

Lil Nas X Song Is #1 In Saudi Arabia, Where Homosexuality Is Illegal Under Sharia Law

Elias Marat

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Lil Nas X has been on top of the world for weeks now, whether it’s living rent-free in the heads of homophobes or topping the Billboard charts after his smash hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” dominated playlists.

And ironically, the anthem has become the most-played song in Saudi Arabia, the conservative kingdom where open expressions of same-sex love and even private acts of gay sex are punishable by death.

The song, whose video features the artist giving Satan himself a lap dance have dominated news conversations all over the globe, smashed through to the top of the Billboard Global 200, which ranks top tracks in over 200 territories, on Monday.

According to Apple Music, the song is also leading Saudi Arabia’s top 100 charts as the most-played song in the country.

Apparently overjoyed by the ranking, Lil Nas X tweeted: “WE NUMBER 1 IN SAUDI ARABIA WTF LETS GOOOO”

The autocratic kingdom, which has long been governed by a strict yet uncodified interpretation of Sharia law, has an atrocious record on LGBTQ rights and classifies homosexuality as a variety of extremism. N many circumstances, gay sex is punishable by death.

As the Human Dignity Trust explains, “The punishment varies depending on the circumstances: married men and interfaith sex are punished with the death penalty, while non-married men are punished with flogging. Sharia law principles underpinning the criminal law in Saudi Arabia also impose strict dress codes that impact on the gender expression of transgender people.”

However, this does not mean that Saudi citizens abstain from these “illicit” acts. As one fan wrote on Twitter: Period!!!! Let’s correct the narrative about the Middle East! Shoutout Saudi Arabia.”

However, another user responded: “I lived in Saudi Arabia my whole [life] and if I come out I will literally get stoned and people will be happy about it, saying it’s a ‘narrative’ doesn’t help anyone in the contrary, the middle IS homophobic and change NEEDS to happen.”

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Corruption

Cop Who ‘Accidentally’ Killed Daunte Wright Arrested on 2nd-Degree Manslaughter Charges

Elias Marat

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The former Minnesota cop who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old unarmed Black man, during a traffic stop will now face charges of second-degree manslaughter, a prosecutor announced on Wednesday.

The brutal killing of Wright, which comes amid the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for last May’s killing of George Floyd, threatens to spark a new round of nationwide protests against police brutality and discriminatory policing.

On Wednesday, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput confirmed that Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, would be charged.

On Wednesday morning, agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrested Potter, the bureau announced in a statement.

Potter was taken into custody in St. Paul and will be booked at Hennepin County jail.

On Tuesday, Potter resigned as demands for justice for Wright reverberated nationwide. Her resignation coincided with that of the city’s former police chief, who claims that Potter accidentally grabbed her Glock when she thought she was reaching for her Taser during the Sunday traffic stop.

Wright’s family and attorneys have rejected the claim that Wright’s death was merely the result of an “accident” and are demanding accountability and sweeping reforms of policing in Minnesota.

Potter could face up to 10 years in prison along with a $20,000 fine, per Minnesota law.

“While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back,” said Wright family attorney Ben Crump in a statement.

“This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate and unlawful use of force,” the statement added.

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