'We are going to be here every day': Groups rally outside courthouse as jury selection begins in Rittenhouse case

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KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Monday, Nov. 1, was the first day of jury selection in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Jurors will have to decide whether or not Rittenhouse, now 18, acted in self-defense when he shot three men during Jacob Blake protests on August 25, 2020.

Supporters from both sides grouped outside the Kenosha County Courthouse as jury selection took place. 

Inside, Judge Bruce Schroeder addressed the 150 potential jurors to explain the charges against the defendant.

Schroeder also asked potential jurors if they would be able to disregard what they've heard about the case.

"Those who are picked for this jury will be in the front row seat to see exactly what happened and make a rational decision based on that, and anybody who is not on board with deciding strictly on the evidence needs to tell us that," said Schroeder.

After hours of questions from Judge Schroeder, the defense and prosecution, a jury was seated.

Rittenhouse's attorneys claim self-defense for him shooting the three men -- and killing of two them -- last year. They argue that Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha to defend businesses and was attacked by protesters.

Prosecutors disagree and say Rittenhouse, who was armed, was the aggressor and came with violent intent.

The protests were in response to the August police shooting of Jacob Blake that left Blake paralyzed.

Justin Blake, Jacob's uncle, told CBS 58 on Monday, their family stands with those harmed by Rittenhouse.

"We're going to be here every day if we can. We are standing here with their families today, in solidarity with their families so they get justice, and then we'll see about getting justice for little Jake down the road," said Blake.

Blake called for peace during the trial and added that the "right call" is for jurors to find Rittenhouse guilty.

"This is ground zero for where the rest of this country is going to go for the next 50 years. If we don't get this straight here, we don't get it straight down in Florida, we can no longer stand up in the world about human rights -- to China, Russia, nobody else. We've got to correct some things here at home," said Blake.

Emily, a Rittenhouse supporter, held an American flag outside the courthouse and defended Rittenhouse, calling him a patriot.

"He goes through a lot. His family has gone through a whole lot of hell because of the choices that they made. I want to stand here and support. If it was me or my child, I would be out here," said Emily. "To me, if they charge him with this, this is basically saying that we can't protect ourselves otherwise we will be charged."

Rittenhouse has five felony charges against him including reckless and intentional homicide. 

There's also a misdemeanor weapons charge because he was 17 years old when the shooting occurred.

The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.

If convicted, Rittenhouse faces life in prison.

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