Koerri Washington, who described himself as a “self-employed social media influencer,” took the stand on Tuesday afternoon as the third witness in the trial, and prosecutors played video he filmed from the night of August 25, 2020. He is due back on the stand Wednesday morning.
In opening statements, the prosecution said evidence would show Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, chased down and fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and then shot at three other people who tried to confront what they believed to be an active shooter.
However, Rittenhouse’s defense attorney Mark Richards said Rosenbaum had been the aggressor that night and described the others as part of a “mob.”
“He acted in self-defense, ladies and gentlemen,” Richards told the jury. “The evidence will show his actions … were reasonable under the circumstances as they existed that night, being attacked by Mr. Rosenbaum.”
The trial will feature a bevy of video showing Rittenhouse’s movements that night, including infrared video filmed from above Kenosha. Most of the facts of what happened that night are not up for debate — rather, the heart of the trial is the analysis of Rittenhouse’s actions and whether they can be considered “reasonable.”
Rittenhouse fired an AR-15-style weapon eight times in all during the unrest: four shots at Rosenbaum, who was unarmed; two shots at an unarmed unknown individual who kicked Rittenhouse; one fatal shot at Anthony Huber, who hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard; and one shot at Gaige Grosskreutz, who was holding a gun, according to prosecutors.
Friend who purchased weapon testifies
Dominick Black, a 20-year-old friend who was dating Rittenhouse’s sister, testified Tuesday as the first witness in the trial and said he had previously purchased an AR-15 firearm for Rittenhouse in what prosecutors called a “straw purchase.”
Rittenhouse was too young to purchase and possess a gun, but he gave Black funds to buy the firearm, Black testified.
On August 25, 2020, Black and Rittenhouse each took a weapon and ammo and went to downtown Kenosha to try to protect a car dealership called Car Source, where about six or seven other armed people had gathered. Black climbed atop the roof of the dealership that night because he felt being on the ground was too dangerous, he testified.
At one point, he heard gunshots go off in the distance at an area where Rittenhouse was.
“I didn’t believe the gunshots were actually his until I got a phone call. I answered it and he just said, ‘I shot somebody, I shot somebody,’ and then hung up right away,” Black testified.
Rittenhouse returned to the dealership “freaking out,” pale and sweaty, Black said. They left Kenosha and drove to Rittenhouse’s home in Antioch, and Rittenhouse surrendered to police the next morning.
Black has been charged with two counts of intentionally giving a dangerous weapon to a person under the age of 18 causing death, according to court records. He has pleaded not guilty. He testified Tuesday that he hoped taking the stand would lead to leniency in his case.
Also on Tuesday, an FBI agent testified about aerial surveillance of the unrest.
Prosecutors said infrared surveillance video could show that, at least at some point during that night, it was Rittenhouse who was following and chasing Rosenbaum. With FBI agent Brandon Cramin on the stand, prosecutors played grainy black-and-white video taken from an airplane 8,500 feet over Kenosha.
None of the fuzzy figures on the ground were immediately identifiable, according to pool reports. After Judge Bruce Schroeder and the attorneys discussed the video, the judge advised prosecutors to skip the FBI agent for now, call different witnesses and come back to the issue of the plane later.
CNN’s Carma Hassan and Brad Parks contributed to this report.