Two brothers said they never asked Kyle Rittenhouse or anyone else to guard their Kenosha car dealership.
Rittenhouse’s defense attorneys have said the teenager was asked to protect the property on August 25, 2020.
The brothers’ testimony is significant for prosecutors’ efforts to paint Rittenhouse as a vigilante.
Two brothers from the family-owned car dealership Kyle Rittenhouse said he was guarding on the night of the Kenosha shootings testified on Friday that neither had requested armed protection that night, from Rittenhouse or anyone else.
Sahil and Anmol Khindri said they both encountered Rittenhouse and other armed men on August 25, 2020, the day of the shooting, but only briefly.
The Khindri brothers’ testimony is significant for prosecutors’ efforts to paint Rittenhouse as a vigilante who recklessly and needlessly brought an AR-15 rifle into a dangerous situation. Rittenhouse’s defense attorneys have sought to portray their client as a Good Samaritan who was providing much-needed protection to a family business that had requested it.
Rittenhouse is charged with fatally shooting two men, one of them in a Car Source parking lot, and injuring a third. He has pleaded not guilty and said he opened fire in self-defense because the men were chasing him.
The Khindri brothers explained that their parents owned three car-related properties along Sheridan Road in downtown Kenosha, and that both brothers had arrived at their parents’ properties that day to inspect damage from previous nights of protests.
Sahil, who posed for a picture outside the Car Source with Rittenhouse and a group of heavily armed civilians, testified that he hadn’t actually known any of the men at the time. He requested a photo because he was “so impressed” by the way the men were dressed, and had previously only seen armed men like that on television, he said.
He told the court that he didn’t ask the men to protect the business, but he also didn’t ask them to leave.
Anmol, who at the time was an inventory manager at the Car Source properties, recalled briefly chatting with Rittenhouse earlier in the day and giving the then-17-year-old his phone number.
Anmol said Rittenhouse, like many others that day, had expressed sorrow for the damage the properties had already sustained and interest in helping him fundraise for repairs.
But, Anmol added, he did not ask Rittenhouse to guard any Car Source locations, nor did he ask anyone else to do so.
Rittenhouse has said he was asked to guard the car dealership
Both Rittenhouse and Dominick Black, a friend accompanying him at the time, previously said they were in Kenosha that evening because the owners of the Car Source asked them to guard the properties. But the Khindri brothers’ testimony on Friday conflicted with those statements.
One of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, Corey Chirafisi, asked Anmol during cross-examination why he would simply leave the properties unguarded during the third night of civil unrest in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“After seeing the destruction, there was nothing I could do,” Anmol said.
Chirafisi also repeatedly asked Anmol whether he was fearful of being sued if he admitted that he requested armed protection on the property where Rittenhouse ultimately shot Joseph Rosenbaum. Anmol appeared not to understand the question.
Prosecutors asked both brothers to read a text message sent to Anmol’s phone on August 25, 2020, that said, “Hey Sam it’s Kyle do you need anyone to protect your business tonight I’m more then willing and will be armed I just need address. Me and my brother would both be thwre armed.”
Anmol confirmed that he goes by the name Sam, and that he received the text on his cellphone.
He denied responding to the message, however. He said he hadn’t known who “Kyle” was at the time and didn’t see the message until the following day.
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