Kenosha streets quiet as courtroom battle rages over potentially manipulated video evidence

Meanwhile, some reports suggest that left-wing groups have successfully intimidated the jury.

The Kenosha County Courthouse where a jury is deciding the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse. (Kyle Hooten/Alpha News)

The streets of Kenosha were quiet Wednesday night, but many feel this peace hangs by a thread. Meanwhile, a legal battle over potentially manipulated evidence rages in the courtroom.

Alpha News managing editor Kyle Hooten is in Kenosha, Wisconsin, covering the situation outside the county courthouse as the jury that will decide teenager Kyle Rittenhouse’s fate concluded its second day of deliberations. Although there was some minor unrest resulting in two arrests shortly before 5 p.m., protesters went home in the evening and left the steps in front of the court occupied only by media.

Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two, in a claimed self-defense incident after he was charged by left-wing rioters during unrest in Kenosha.

Wednesday’s arrests apparently occurred after a boy wearing a “f– Kyle” shirt held up a sign with a photo of a woman who supports Rittenhouse along with a list of crimes she’s committed in the past.

“Look at this c– dumpster right here,” the boy said, gesturing to the woman on his sign before calling a second woman who rebuked him a “dumb c–.” The boy then threw his sign at the second woman before he and another protester forced her to the ground.

An older Black Lives Matter protester pulled the boy away and tried to calm him down, but the boy continued to lash out, striking at a reporter’s camera.

After sundown, Hooten reports that there were only three progressives milling about on the courtroom steps, loudly discussing their opposition to Rittenhouse and mocking reporters in the area. Aside from these individuals and a handful of leftover protest signs, all was quiet.

Peace, but for how long?

Many believe that peace in Kenosha hangs by a thread. “I don’t think anybody is really concerned about rioting if Kyle Rittenhouse is convicted,” Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told Newsmax’s Rob Schmitt Wednesday, observing that the left is responsible for the overwhelming majority of political street violence in America.

He also blasted Rittenhouse’s prosecutors, characterizing them as dishonest and asked “why the judge didn’t sequester the jury” given that there are “protesters outside using bullhorns [to make] threats.”

Meanwhile, some reports suggest that left-wing groups have successfully intimidated the jury.

Jack Posobiec, senior editor of Human Events, reports that a U.S. Marshal source disclosed to him that “two jurors [are] holding [the] decision up, outright citing backlash.” These jurors are “worried about media leaking their names, what will happen to their families, jobs, etc.,” Posobiec claims, adding that the jurors are specifically concerned about “doxing threats from ‘anarchist groups.'”

Accident or deliberate manipulation?

Presently, the prosecution’s case rests largely on a video that may or may not show Rittenhouse pointing a rifle at a man named Joshua Ziminski.

Ziminski was standing next to Joseph Rosenbaum just before the Kenosha shooting incident transpired.

Rittenhouse’s defense says Ziminski told Rosenbaum to “get” and “kill” Rittenhouse before Rosenbaum began to chase Rittenhouse, prompting the teenager to shoot his pursuer, who had been convicted of molesting and/or raping five boys ages 9-11. Ziminski also fired a gun as the chase began. The defense says this accentuated the danger Rittenhouse was in.

The prosecution doesn’t strongly contest this narrative, but alleges that Rittenhouse pointed a gun at Ziminski before he gave the order to Rosenbaum to kill Rittenhouse. If this is true, the prosecution says it weakens Rittenhouse’s claim to self-defense.

Given his intimate involvement in this case, one might assume that Ziminski would be called as a witness, yet he has not appeared on the stand.

The same county attorney’s office that is handling Rittenhouse’s case is also responsible for prosecuting Ziminski for arson and the shot he fired. The prosecution could give him immunity in his own case so that he could freely testify in Rittenhouse’s, but some commentators suggest that they have not done so because Ziminski’s testimony is likely to benefit the defense.

When this was pointed out in court, the judge highlighted that neither side had attempted to call Ziminski to the stand.

In lieu of Ziminski’s testimony, the prosecution has relied on a grainy video shot by a drone — this is the evidence that some say has been manipulated.

The drone footage used by the prosecution and provided to the defense is very low resolution. To help correct this, the prosecution employed a variety of techniques, supposedly designed to enhance the footage. The result of the work they performed on the video: a pixelated image that allegedly shows Rittenhouse holding his gun in his left hand (even though he’s right-handed), pointing it at Ziminski.

The digital manipulations employed by the prosecution were the subject of heated courtroom debate, although these arguments now appear futile after it was revealed that a higher resolution video had been available the entire time.

This video, in many commentators’ opinions, shows Rittenhouse not raising his rifle in a clear way that doesn’t require artificial enhancement.

The question now remains: why did the prosecution not readily disclose the higher resolution video that is more likely to exonerate Rittenhouse?

Some say it was a mistake — that the way the files were shared accidently resulted in compression that distorted the footage and required the prosecution’s manipulations to undo.

Others, however, noticed that as the prosecution displayed the contents of their laptop to the court, they revealed, perhaps inadvertently, that a program called “handbrake” was installed. This software is used to reduce the resolution of videos. Some believe that this program was used to intentionally degrade footage that was otherwise beneficial to Rittenhouse’s case.

It is unclear why the clearer footage wasn’t discovered until Wednesday, or why it wasn’t disclosed to the judge, defense and jury.

This confusion has led the defense to request a mistrial without prejudice, meaning Rittenhouse could be retried.