Per the Associated Press, Judge Bruce Schroeder granted a motion to dismiss the weapon possession charge on Monday. The decision comes on the 10th day of the trial, just ahead of closing arguments. Schroeder said that he had a “big problem” with the charge.
The charge was the only misdemeanor filed against Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the deadly Kenosha, Wisconsin shooting in 2020. The other charges he’s facing—including first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree intentional homicide—are all felonies. If convicted of the most serious felony charges, Rittenhouse could face life in prison.
Rittenhouse traveled across state lines from Antioch, Illinois to Wisconsin on Aug. 25, 2020 with an AR-15-style automatic rifle in response to the protests of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. He did not own the firearm, but claimed he was on the scene to protect property and provide medical aid. That night he fired shots at multiple protesters who were antagonistic toward his presence at the protests, leading to him killing 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber. Another protester, 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz, was injured by Rittenhouse’s gunfire.
Throughout the highly publicized trial, Rittenhouse has claimed he acted in self-defense. He alleged that one of the shooting victims threatened to kill him and called him “the N-word.” The handling of the trial has come under heavy criticism, especially when compared to how instances of violence perpetrated against people of color are dealt with in the United States.
Judge Bruce Schroeder was heavily criticized last week, first for showing sympathy for Rittenhouse and later for making a questionable remark about “Asian food.”