After pleading not guilty to charges related to the Kenosha shooting earlier this month during the Jacob Blake protests, Kyle Rittenhouse was spotted at a local Wisconsin bar last Tuesday drinking beer and flashing the “OK” symbol before being serenaded with the Proud Boys’ anthem by other patrons of the establishment.
Now, prosecutors are requesting that the Kenosha County Circuit Court to modify the bond conditions to prohibit Rittenhouse from possessing or consuming alcohol, being in a bar, making public displays of “white power or supremacy” and to restrict his contact with any known militia or white supremacist groups.
According to reports, Rittenhouse, who was wearing a shirt that read “Free As Fuck,” visited the bar last week shortly after his court appearance while out on a $2 million bail. His mother was also seen at the bar, confirmed by surveillance footage from the establishment, where Rittenhouse was recorded drinking with alleged members of the Proud Boys who sang “Proud of Your Boy” (which is both an anthem and where the name of the group comes from).
Kyle Rittenhouse is not only out on bail, but is hanging out with his mom drinking in Racine, WI. The “free as fuck” shirt is a nice touch to the fuck you that is our judicial system. This country may just be broken beyond repair. pic.twitter.com/fFMJzb9Ryt
— Mike Carpenter 🇦🇲 (@MrCistoolong) January 8, 2021
Images of Rittenhouse flashing the “OK” hand sign were a particular point of criticism, especially on social media, which many associate with the alt-right or a symbol for “white power.” The association appears to originate from the 4chan hoax “Operation O-KKK” to trick the media into transforming it from its long-standing signal that “all is well” into one of racism.
Currently, the conditions of Rittenhouse’s bond do not include restrictions on entering a bar, consuming alcohol or interacting with any particular groups or militias. Rittenhouse recently turned 18 earlier this month, which means it is legal for him to consume alcohol under the age of 21 if a parent is present according to Wisconsin state law, but the motion filed by prosecutors said they believe it could result in witness intimidation.
Several of the photos from that night have since gone viral and spread online where many criticized Rittenhouse for his actions, particularly considering the severity of his court case that includes homicide charges in the death of two men, while others have argued that the hand gesture is harmless.
That’s the fucking Ok sign, I don’t know shit about Rittenhouse and his personal life, nor do I know his feelings on race, but I’m sick and tired of you fricking idiots taking the 4 chan troll seriously
— astroglide (@Astroglide13) January 14, 2021
“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,” prosecutors wrote. “Further, this association may serve to intimidate potential witnesses, who may be unwilling to testify in this case because they may fear that the defendant’s associates [will] harm them or their families.”
Rittenhouse’s final pre-trial appearance is set for March 10th in the Kenosha County Court and his lawyers have not commented on the controversial images since appearing online.