Of all of the court cases currently underway in relation to the riots in Kenosha that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, this one looks like the most open-and-shut of the bunch. As you will recall, the protests quickly evolved into riotous events. At one point in the evening during the height of the unrest, fights broke out between part of the mob that was there to protest the police and others who were there offering to help clean up and keep local businesses safe. It was during one of those conflicts that Kyle Rittenhouse shot three of the protesters/rioters, killing two of them.
But the case we’re dealing with today doesn’t directly involve Rittenhouse. We later learned that Rittenhouse was only 17-years-old at the time, so how did he get his hands on a semiautomatic rifle? It turns out that it was purchased for him by a friend earlier in the year using Rittenhouse’s money. That friend is 19-year old Dominick David Black. And this week he was charged with two felony counts of intentionally selling a firearm to a minor. (WaPo)
When Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two people and seriously wounded another man in August during racial justice protests in Kenosha, Wis., he used an assault rifle a friend had bought for him. At 17 years old, Rittenhouse was too young to have legally bought the Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle himself.
Prosecutors have now charged that friend, 19-year-old Dominick David Black, with two felony counts of intentionally selling a gun to a minor. Black made his first court appearance on Monday in the Kenosha County Circuit Court…
Rittenhouse, who faces six charges, including intentional homicide, has not denied being the gunman in the fatal shootings; his lawyers say he acted in self-defense.
The way the story of the original police shooting has spiraled off into a number of different avenues can make this a rough tale to wrap your head around. The more we learned about Jacob Blake over time, the more it seemed like he was a rather awkward person to hold up as some sort of heroic resistance fighter who was unjustly shot by the cops. Similarly, after reviewing plenty of film footage from the riots on the night that Rittenhouse had his own lethal encounter, the more it looked like he fired in self-defense.
But the one actor in this entire drama who doesn’t appear to have a leg to stand on is Dominick Black. Both he and Rittenhouse obviously knew that the younger man was not of age to legally purchase a firearm. He’s already admitted as much. And yet he took his friend’s cash and traveled to a gun shop in Ladysmith, Wisconsin and purchased a rifle for him. Unless the shop owner was totally incompetent or operating an illicit operation, Black would have had to have fraudulently filled out the application, avowing that he was purchasing the firearm for himself.
That’s the first crime he committed. He then transferred the firearm to Rittenhouse in an illicit gray market sale. That’s the second law that he broke. Both of those incidents are serious felonies that can carry prison time. Given the fact that Black has no previous criminal record, he might get off with a lighter sentence if he’s lucky.
But does this mean that Black is somehow involved in or responsible for the shooting of the three men that Rittenhouse fired on? It certainly doesn’t seem so. He claims that he bought Rittenhouse the rifle for the purpose of hunting. Rittenhouse doesn’t deny this. Also, Black was nowhere near the protests on the night in question, nor have we seen any paper trail (electronic or otherwise) suggesting that the two were in contact immediately before or during the protests. It seems as though Rittenhouse brought the illegally obtained firearm to the riots of his own volition, removing it from where he had stored it at his stepfather’s house to do so.
Since Black claims that he was led to believe the rifle would be used for hunting, some might claim that this is a valid exercise, but it’s really not. Under Wisconsin law, children as young as the age of 12 are allowed to be in possession and control of a firearm for the purpose of hunting, target shooting or related activities, but only while supervised by a responsible guardian. That doesn’t mean they can own a firearm on their own or carry one anywhere unsupervised. So that wouldn’t apply here.
Even if Dominick Black’s intentions were benign and he really only wanted to go hunting with his friend, he still broke the law. And now he’s going to be held accountable. Black has now been released on $2,500 bond and is due back in court on November 19th.