Speed Reads

words matter

Judge in Kyle Rittenhouse trial rules prosecutors can't refer to men shot as 'victims'

A Wisconsin judge on Monday ruled that prosecutors in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial cannot refer to the men he is accused of shooting as "victims."

Rittenhouse, 18, has been charged with shooting three people — two fatally — during a protest against police brutality last year, and his trial is set to start on Monday. Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroder said in his Monday decision that he has a standard rule banning use of the word "victim" until a person is convicted of a crime, USA Today reports.

He is more lenient when it comes to other words — Schroeder did not approve a request from Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, who asked that defense lawyers not be allowed to call the men "looters, rioters, arsonists, or any other pejorative term." Binger argued that there is no proof that the people who were shot had participated in looting, rioting, or arson, and those are even more "loaded" terms than the word "victim." Schroeder responded, "Let the evidence show what it shows."