KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS) — Prosecutors on Wednesday filed a motion asking to have a warrant issued for Kyle Rittenhouse’s arrest and to have his bond increased, on the grounds that he failed to notify the court system when his home address changed.
A defense attorney for Rittenhouse said his client is at a “safe house” now because of numerous and repeated threats.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Mainly Clear And Not As Cold Sunday Night
Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three people – killing two – during the unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin over the summer following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police there.
In the motion filed Wednesday, prosecutors noted that an address on Anita Terrace in Antioch, Illinois was listed for Rittenhouse when he signed a document in November upon being released on $2 million bond.
The November bond document ordered Rittenhouse to notify the court within 48 hours of a change in his address or phone number, the motion said.
But the Kenosha County Circuit Court Clerk mailed a notice to Rittenhouse at the Anita Terrace address on Dec. 20, and it was returned as unclaimed on Jan. 28, prosecutors said. The U.S. Postal Service indicated that the delivery of the notice was “attempted, not known” and that they were “unable to forward” prosecutors said.
On Feb. 2, Kenosha police detectives went to the Antioch address and found another man living there. He said he had been living there since Dec. 14 and had signed a lease on Dec. 15 – and produced a utility bill proving his residence while saying Rittenhouse no longer lived there, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors asked Rittenhouse’s bond to be increased by $200,000 and asked to have a warrant issued for his arrest.
Prosecutors say Rittenhouse, who is white, left his home in Antioch, Illinois, and traveled to Kenosha after learning of a call to protect businesses after Blake, a Black man, was shot by police seven times in the back Aug. 23 and left paralyzed.
Rittenhouse opened fire with an assault-style rifle during protests two nights later, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse and his attorneys have argued he fired in self-defense.
Conservatives have rallied around Rittenhouse, describing him as a patriot who took up arms to protect people and property, and raised enough money, with help from actor Ricky Schroder, to make his $2 million cash bail on Nov. 20.
Still images from that day show Rittenhouse first posing for photos outside the bar with two adult men who arrived with him, the filing said. In each, Rittenhouse and one of the men flash the “OK” sign. Other screen grabs show Rittenhouse posing for several photographs in a T-shirt which reads, “Free as F**k,” and again flashing the “OK” sign with the adults in the bar, the filing said.
The “OK” sign, prosecutors noted, has been co-opted as a white power gesture by “known white supremacist groups.”
The hand symbol began as a hoax by users of the website 4chan before turning into a popular trolling tactic, the Anti-Defamation League explained in 2019. By that year, it had evolved into a gesture embraced “in some circles as a sincere expression of white supremacy,” the civil rights group said.READ MORE: At Least 20 Shot, 2 Killed In Weekend Violence In Chicago
The filing also said five men who accompanied Rittenhouse to the bar “loudly serenaded” him with the song, “Proud of Your Boy,” as Rittenhouse stood next to them.
“Proud of Your Boy” a song written for the 1992 Disney film “Aladdin,” but not used until a 2011 stage adaptation, and is the source of the name of the far-right group self-described “western chauvinist” group the Proud Boys. Prosecutors said the song sung by members of the Proud Boys “as an anthem and for self-identification.”
The incidents documented that day led a judge to modify Rittenhouse’s bond so as to require that he “shall not knowingly have conduct with any person or group of persons known to harm, threaten, harass or menace others on the basis of their race, beliefs on the subject of religion, color, national origin, or gender.”
In the motion filed Wednesday, prosecutors noted that the funds to have Rittenhouse released on bond in November came from a “dubious internet fundraising campaign” and his family did not supply any of it. Thus, prosecutors said, Rittenhouse is free from custody with “a minimal incentive to company with his bond conditions.”
Prosecutors also said Rittenhouse’s behavior at the bar was indicative of a “carefree attitude” despite the seriousness of the charges against him.
Attorney Mark Richards, representing Rittenhouse, responded to the motion late Wednesday. Richards said Rittenhouse and his family had received “numerous death and other threats” following the incident in which Rittenhouse is charged. Richards said the threats were delivered by social media, email, and postal mail.
Thus, Richards wrote, the entire Rittenhouse family deleted their social media and email accounts and had to go to an undisclosed “safe house.”
Richards also wrote that attorney John Pierce – who had been on the Rittenhouse defense team previously, had been instructed directly “a high-ranking member of the Kenosha Police Department” not to provide the address of the safe house because of the threats.
On Nov. 30, another Rittenhouse attorney, Corey Chirafisi, asked the District Attorney’s office if they would agree to allow Rittenhouse’s information to be filed under seal due to the threats, Richards wrote. Further, Richards wrote, the threats have not abated and were still coming in as recently as Jan. 25.
Despite all that, only now has the DA filed to increase Rittenhouse’s bond, Richards wrote.
Richards wrote the defense has no issue with providing Rittenhouse’s current address provided that it is kept from the public record and distribution.
No information was available late Wednesday on when a hearing on the motion might be held.
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