- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 14, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse risks being reined in after prosecutors said Wednesday that he was caught on camera partying with apparent members of the Proud Boys following a recent court date for homicide charges.

Prosecutors said Mr. Rittenhouse spent around 90 minutes at a bar last Tuesday shortly after he was arraigned on homicide charges over the deaths of two people fatally shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer.

Mr. Rittenhouse drank beers at the bar with men assumed to be members of the group called the Proud Boys and posed for photos while making a hand gesture co-opted by white supremacists, prosecutors said.

Jason R. Zapf, assistant district attorney for the state of Wisconsin, said Mr. Rittenhouse should accordingly have the conditions of his bond modified pending the outcome of his eventual trial. 

In a motion filed in Wisconsin Circuit Court in Kenosha County, Mr. Zapf requested that Mr. Rittenhouse be prohibited from drinking alcohol, going to bars, communicating with members of any militias or other violent groups, including the Proud Boys, or making any sort of “white power” or “white supremacy” gestures, signs or symbols in public.

“The defendant’s continued association with members of a group that prides itself on violence, and the use of their symbols, raises the significant possibility of future harm,” Mr. Zapf wrote. 

Mr. Rittenhouse, 18, has been charged with homicide, among other counts, in connection with a series of shootings that took place while Kenosha was experiencing several days of protests in late August.

The shootings happened when Mr. Rittenhouse, a resident of nearby Antioch, Illinois, was 17 years old. He turned 18 on Jan. 3, and he was arraigned two days later and pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Prosecutors said Mr. Rittenhouse and his mom went to Pudgy’s Pub in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, after his arraignment. State law lets people 18 and older consume alcohol in a bar if accompanied by a parent.

“Within a few minutes of entering the bar, the defendant was loudly serenaded by 5 of the adult males in his group with the song ‘Proud of Your Boy’, which is an obscure song written for the 1992 Disney film ‘Aladdin,’ ” Mr. Zapf said in the filing. “The violent white supremacist group called the ‘Proud Boys’ was named after this song, which is sung by its members as an anthem and for self-identification.”

The Proud Boys, a self-described group of “western chauvinists,” has been involved in several extremist rallies, Mr. Zapf added, including most recently at last Wednesday’s attack of the U.S. Capitol.

Surveillance video from Pudgy’s Pub showed Mr. Rittenhouse spending the entirety of his time with the group of apparent Proud Boys, the assistant district attorney added.

Mr. Rittenhouse‘s lawyer, Mark. D. Richards, criticized the prosecution’s request Thursday but agreed to the proposed conditions.

“The state’s bond motion is a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to interject the issue of race into a case that is about a person’s right to self-defense,” Mr. Richards responded. “Nonetheless, as Mr. Rittenhouse has no membership, affiliation, or affinity for any of the identified groups, the defense has no objection to a bond modification prohibiting Kyle Rittenhouse from having any knowing contact with any known hate groups or their members.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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