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Five Kenosha, Wis., schools move to virtual learning ahead of Rittenhouse verdict

Five Kenosha, Wis., schools move to virtual learning ahead of Rittenhouse verdict
Five schools near the Kenosha, Wis., courthouse where jurors have spent the last three days deliberating the homicide case against Kyler Rittenhouse moved to virtual learning for the remainder of the week on Thursday. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Five schools near the Kenosha County Courthouse in Wisconsin canceled in-person learning for the remainder of the week as jurors completed their third day of deliberations in the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse on Thursday.

The Kenosha Unified Schol District placed the five schools into virtual learning mode "out of an abundance of caution due to the proximity of school boundaries to the courthouse and the number of students who walk to and from school," district officials said.

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"We feel this is the best course of action to protect our students and staff during an uncertain time," officials said, noting there is no "existing imminent danger."

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Friday authorized 500 National Guard troops to support local law enforcement ahead of the deliberations.

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Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth on Sunday said he had not yet called in the National Guard.

"We've been preparing this for a couple of months," he said. "We've been working with local and state and federal officials. We have intelligence being worked on all the time and truthfully our intelligence is saying that not much is going on," Beth said.

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Deliberations on Thursday ended without a verdict as jurors weighed the case against Rittenhouse, who faces five charges, including reckless homicide in the first degree for killing activists Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber with his assault-style rifle, and first-degree attempted homicide for wounding medic Gaige Grosskreutz during a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 25, 2020.

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The panel of 12 jurors is expected to resume deliberations at 10 a.m. on Friday morning.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, and his attorneys have argued that he acted in self-defense when he shot the three men, with Rittenhouse breaking down in tears, saying he "didn't do anything wrong" as he testified before the court.

Prosecutors argued that Rittenhouse acted recklessly by attending the protests with an AR-15-style rifle, inciting fear and violence in those around him and therefore could not claim self-defense under Wisconsin law.

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On Wednesday, jurors watched two videos -- an FBI surveillance video and a drone video of the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum -- with the second prompting a motion from the defense for Judge Bruce Schroeder to dismiss the case, stating the quality of the drone video provided to the jury was of a lesser quality than what prosecutors had access to.

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