ANALYSIS: Stanford law professor lodges himself into the left's Rittenhouse misinformation campaign
Stanford law professor Rick Banks recently weighed in on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, implying that Rittenhouse may have been acquitted because he was white.
Several false accusations from the left have accompanied coverage of the Rittenhouse trial.
After more than a year of media disinformation, national controversy and public defamation, the now 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse has been acquitted on 2 counts of homicide, 1 count of attempted homicide and 2 counts of reckless endangerment after killing a convicted child rapist and serial domestic abuser in self-defense, and neutralizing a man who aimed a loaded handgun at him.
But despite the prosecution's subpar case to convict Rittenhouse and all available evidence overwhelmingly pointing to self-defense, one Stanford law professor still questions whether Rittenhouse's acquittal was evidence-based or a product of white privilege.
R. Richard Banks, a law professor at Stanford University, expressed skepticism in a Q&A with Stanford Law School (SLS) surrounding whether racial bias played a role in the case’s outcome.
Throughout the trial, Rittenhouse - who shot 3 white men in what the ruling deemed self-defense - was labeled as a racist murderer by the mainstream media, and was even referred to as a white supremacist by President Biden himself.
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While many have pointed out the clear-cut evidence of self-defense on Rittenhouse’s part, prominent leftists have neglected the facts of the case, thoroughly and repeatedly spreading false narratives surrounding the events of that night.
Immediately after the shootings took place, Representative Ayanna Presley rushed to Twitter to defame Rittenhouse as a “white supremacist domestic terrorist” who “drove across state lines” to carry out an attack.
A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15.
He shot and killed 2 people who had assembled to affirm the value, dignity, and worth of Black lives.
Fix your damn headlines.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) August 27, 2020
Former NFL player George Wrightster went even further, falsely claiming Rittenhouse’s mother drove him to Kenosha to carry out “what he ultimately did.”
We all knew this George Zimmerman BS was happening for this murderer Kyle Rittenhouse.
His mother drove him to Kenosha to do what he ultimately did.
All this does is invite vigilantes taking to the streets. https://t.co/LPAt5kW9DQ
— George Wrighster III (@georgewrighster) November 19, 2021
News coverage and court transcripts show that Rittenhouse was already in Kenosha with a friend prior to the riots.
Former NBA player Rex Chapman falsely accused police of releasing Rittenhouse “like he was on their team.”
16-year old Kyle Rittenhouse was driven across state lines with an AR-15 where he murdered to people. He then told the police he had done so. On video. Cops let him go home like he was on their team. Turns out he was. It’s almost like he went looking for trouble & it was allowed.
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) November 19, 2021
In reality, Rittenhouse turned himself in to the Antioch Police Department less than two hours after the events took place. He spent the following 87 days in jail.
But despite the debunked lies spread about Rittenhouse, Rick Banks is still reluctant to discount the myth that Rittenhouse’s supposed racial prejudice, along with his skin color were key factors that fueled both the August 26 events, and the not guilty verdict that followed.
According to Banks, the fact that the case involved no people of color "doesn’t mean that race did not play a role in the Rittenhouse trial and verdict."
"Because all the parties are white doesn’t mean that race did not play a role in the Rittenhouse trial and verdict,” the professor stated in the SLS interview. “Yet there are so many variables that it is hard to unravel precisely how race might have played a role or how or why the outcomes might’ve been different had the race of other participants been different. One wonders whether Rittenhouse would’ve been acquitted had he been black.”
Banks then seemingly accused Rittenhouse of "roaming around" with a gun "shooting people" by insisting that a judge and jury would not have treated the case the same if Rittenhouse were black.
"I certainly find it hard to imagine a black man roaming around with guns and shooting people receiving the sympathy of the jury and certainly not receiving the sympathy of an all or mostly white jury," Banks said.
On the night of August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse can be seen fleeing from 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum.
According to eyewitness testimony, Rosenbaum, who hours before, allegedly vowed to kill Rittenhouse if he saw him alone, yelled "f*ck you" at Rittenhouse and lunged for his gun, prompting the 18-year-old to defend himself.
Shortly after, footage shows Rittenhouse running away from a mob of rioters and arsonists who were chasing him.
After stumbling to the ground, one rioter, Anthony Huber, attacked Rittenhouse with a skateboard, prompting him to shoot Huber in self-defense. The third rioter, Gaige Grosskreutz, can be seen aiming a loaded handgun at Rittenhouse before being shot in the arm.
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As to the outcome of the verdict, Banks admits that "Rittenhouse violated no state laws," but entertains the idea that his motivation to defend Kenosha businesses from BLM rioters might have been due to Rittenhouse's alleged disdain for the people behind the protest.
"The case also raised other concerns. A protest that prompted Rittenhouse to want to go to protect property owners was in response to the acquittal of law enforcement officers in the shooting of another black man. So, one’s assessment of Rittenhouse might be tied to one’s assessment of the protest, which in turn is tied to one’s view of the acquittal of those officers.”
Chance Layton, communications director for National Association of Scholars, responded to Banks' claims in an interview with Campus Reform. “If the legal system was truly biased, Rittenhouse would have never had his day in court. But he did.”
Layton then urged the public to observe how prosecution cases are handled, citing that "cherry-picking cases" provides no real evidence to substantiate claims of racial bias.
"If there truly is a disparity between the conviction rate of blacks and whites with regards to self-defense there should be some remedy to this problem--though if the disparity is real, I would speculate that this is likely due to a failure on behalf of the defense attorneys and overzealous prosecutors,” Layton said.
“Cherry-picking cases to show how this or that case is evidence of racism doesn't provide any real proof,” he added. “I imagine in the coming months a handful of academics will seek to study the conviction rates of self-defense claims. I'll wait to see what their studies find. In the meantime, to steal President Biden's quote, ‘the jury system works,’” he said.
Campus Reform reached out to Stanford University and Banks for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
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