By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

MADISON, Wis. (CBS/AP) — Video of officers thanking Kyle Rittenhouse during the Kenosha riots last year can be used in next week’s trial, a judge has ruled.

That is just one of the ground rules set ahead of the trial.

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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 Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police seven times in the back on Aug. 23, 2020 and left paralyzed.

In the first couple of nights after police shot Blake, there was large-scale unrest in Kenosha during which several buildings were set on fire.

Rittenhouse opened fire with an assault-style rifle during protests two nights after police shot Blake. Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum and then Huber, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys argued he fired his semiautomatic weapon in self-defense.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys want use-of-force expert John Black to testify that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. Prosecutors have asked Judge Bruce Schroeder to block Black’s testimony, arguing that jurors don’t need an expert to understand what happened that night.

Schroeder told the attorneys that Black wouldn’t be allowed to testify about what Rittenhouse was thinking when he pulled the trigger or whether he definitively acted in self-defense.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said if Schroeder allowed Black to testify only about the timeline of events that night he wouldn’t call his own expert to the stand. Defense attorney Mark Richards agreed to the deal.

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Binger asked Schroeder to bar a video that shows police telling Rittenhouse and other armed militia members on the streets that they appreciated their presence and tossing Rittenhouse a bottle of water. The prosecutor said the video would transform the trial into a referendum on police procedure that night when it isn’t relevant.

“This is a case about what the defendant did that night,” Binger said. “I’m concerned this will be turned into a trial about what law enforcement did or didn’t do that night.”

Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi argued the video shows that police felt Rittenhouse wasn’t acting recklessly. Binger countered that the shootings happened after Rittenhouse interacted with the police, but Schroeder decided to allow the video.

“If the jury is being told, if the defendant is walking down the sidewalk and doing what he claims he was hired to do and police say good thing you’re here, is that something influencing the defendant and emboldening him in his behavior? That would be an argument for relevance,” the judge said.

Schroeder also denied Binger’s request to bar the defense from referring to Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz as rioters, looters or arsonists. The judge said those terms would be allowed if the defense can produce evidence showing that’s what they were.

Many conservatives have flocked to support Rittenhouse, calling him a patriot and making him a symbol for gun rights and raising $2 million for his bail. Others, including some liberals and activists, portray him as a domestic terrorist and say he made a volatile situation worse.

Associated Press writers Todd Richmond and Doug Glass contributed to this report.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff