02 Sep 2020

The Kenosha Shootings: A Tactical & Legal Analysis

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Commentator “Austrian” writes, at AR15.com forums:

By now the majority of you will have seen or heard of the pair of engagements in Kenosha, Wisconsin (hereinafter the “Engagements”) between one Kyle Rittenhouse and a number of other individuals, some recently departed, others now unfortunately unable to operate a keyboard with any efficiency, particularly when proper capitalization is required of their typewritten text. In the wake of these encounters it is quite something to see the degree of bad information, misinformation, and disinformation that has showered the socialinterwebsitetubes, particularly from a tactical and legal perspective.

On the tactical side, it is surprising that matters seem so distorted, since the Engagements must rank among the most comprehensively filmed deadly force CQB incidents in some years (and one of the only engagements in recent memory involving an AR system). In fact, despite the poor lighting conditions, the mobile nature of the camera operators (none, to my knowledge, trained combat photographers), and the chaos of small unit action that will be familiar to anyone who has been in the midst of it, it is possible to view the most cogent parts of the engagement in vivid detail, from multiple camera angles, and with stereo sound. On the legal side, well, many new expert commentators may lack a formal law degree, but they did stay at a Holiday Inn Express (7887 94th Ave, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, 53158) and probably ordered several on-demand Better Call Saul episodes the night before the Engagements besides.

Given the sudden merger of two subjects of great interest to me, and a five hour phone call I had with an old acquaintance now an employee of the Federal Government of the United States based not far from Wisconsin, I could not but look into the Engagements more carefully. Having done so, I could not but type up my analysis. Having done so I could not but seek a forum for publication.

Rittenhouse prevailed in at least four physical encounters, at least one if not two of which involved contests for control of his weapon by larger, presumably stronger assailants. …

Legal Analysis:

Engagement 1:

Reasonable belief…

In the initial encounter with Short Bald Subject, Rittenhouse can be seen turning at least once to face the pursuing Short Bald Subject after Short Bald Subject hurled an object at Rittenhouse. In that quick turn it is possible that Rittenhouse brought his rifle barrel to bear. Short Bald Subject seems to hesitate, but continues to come on just as strong thereafter, charging Rittenhouse at full tilt. I would be at pains to articulate an argument that Rittenhouse did not reasonably believe that force was necessary to avoid a physical confrontation.

..that he faced imminent…

You don’t get a lot more imminent than an adult male charging you at full tilt, especially as close as Rittenhouse permitted Short Bald Subject to approach (1.0-1.5 meters from the look of it).

…danger of death or great bodily harm…

It is entirely reasonable, within the context of civil unrest, mob action, and a lack of any real police presence, to expect that a full on physical fight with a determined adversary will result in your great bodily harm. I would expect that Rittenhouse’s own exposure to police cadet programs and training would make this reasonable belief by him easy to establish based on what he may have learned in such programs, but anyone watching the news or even vaguely aware of the propensity for mob violence in cities facing unrest (and Kenosha in particular) would be reasonable in fearing great bodily harm or death if they are jumped in that context. Ironically, Rittenhouse’s own words in the prior video interview, that he was armed because he might have to go “into harm’s way” is a good piece of evidence vis-a-vis his state of mind at the time.

…and, that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent said harm.

Again, Short Bald Subject was not stopping for anything. Given the video evidence of Short Bald Subject’s disposition at the Ultimate station earlier, I suspect any third party will be able to safely infer that the prison-hardened Short Bald Subject did not intend to give Rittenhouse an over-the-knee spanking. …

Engagement 2:

Reasonable belief…

In the video of the chase immediately before Engagement 2 Rittenhouse can be clearly seen looking behind him, obviously registering the number of pursuers he faced. If he had any doubts about their intentions the blow delivered to the rear of his head by White Shirt (a Misdemeanor Battery in Wisconsin) should have made them clear. When Rittenhouse fell to the ground and turned to face his attackers he had a view of at least a dozen individuals approaching him, including the four primary assailants.

..that he faced imminent…

While Red Backpack is deterred by the sight of the barrel of the rifle coming to bear and therefore receives no fire, in each of the cases where Rittenhouse used deadly force (Light Pants, Huber, Grosskreutz) Rittenhouse fires when contact is either imminent or already initiated.

…danger of death or great bodily harm…

An attempted drop kick to the head (White Pants), a skateboard-wielding assailant fighting for control of Rittenhouse’s weapon (Huber), and a handgun carrying assailant that fakes surrender to try and gain tactical surprise (Grosskreutz).

Nearby an individual with a blunt instrument held upward. A group of pursuers who had chased Rittenhouse two or three blocks already shouting out things like “Get his ass!” and who swarmed on him when he fell.

…and, that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent said harm.

Rittenhouse’s attackers were undeterred by the presence of and then even the discharge of his weapon. Still two of them (Huber and Grosskreutz) attacked. …

Tactical conclusions:

Effective slings are essential elements of weapon retention in CQB and the correct setup is a huge equaliser even against melee encounters with larger adversaries. This is a lesson for me in particular. I have resisted sling systems in the past.

Don’t rely on firearm discharges or pointing to deter opponents determined to close distance with you.

Not that you needed reminding, but rifle stopping power is far superior to handgun stopping power. All three subjects Rittenhouse scored clear hits on were out of the fight immediately. One (Grosskreutz) melted down even though he had ample means to continue the fight. Grosskreutz is only alive today because of Rittenhouse’s amazing (perhaps even naive) restraint. I don’t know of any tactical instructor that wouldn’t counsel a follow-up shot to center mass on Grosskreutz immediately after the arm-strike.

If attacking an individual armed with a firearm do not flinch no matter what. If you commit to grappling with a rifle or pistol holder you have to see your attack through. Four larger, assailants, one armed with a blunt instrument (skateboard) and one with a handgun were unable to subdue a nearly prone Rittenhouse because they shied from the muzzle blast at key moments. Had Grosswreutz followed through with his initial charge after the fatal center mass hit on Huber, Rittenhouse would likely have been subdued.

RTWT

HT: Vanderleun.

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2 Feedbacks on "The Kenosha Shootings: A Tactical & Legal Analysis"

gwbnyc

excellent.



Fusil Darne

The kid did an amazing job of neutralizing threats, astutely avoiding the perp who fled, and not injuring any bystanders. Perhaps you think he was just lucky, but, I seriously doubt that. It would appear he paid attention to someone who coached him in CQB, and perhaps studied further on his own. I expect Grosswkruetz will be retired from the business of malicious mischief henceforth.



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