A jury heard testimony for the first time on Tuesday in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of the murder of former NFL player Joe McKnight. According to reports, McKnight’s friend said the former football player, who was shot on a road in Louisiana, was “talking about white cops” before the shooting. The witness told jurors that McKnight asked, “What makes you think I’m a threat?” before he was shot in the neck. According to the witness, McKnight also tried to argue with a nearby driver during the altercation before retreating into his own car and knocking on the driver’s door. She said she decided to drive over to help McKnight after he failed to respond to their conversation, and when she returned, she saw McKnight lying on the ground. Before he was shot, McKnight was reportedly acting “belligerently” before the shooting, and one police officer said she saw the “verbal exchange” with McKnight during the alleged roadside altercation.
A police officer testified Tuesday that Joseph McKnight was acting belligerently before his fatal shooting. https://t.co/oGvewOk7Hv — Deseret News (@desnews) February 20, 2018
According to another witness, Jean Pierre, who was in the passenger seat of the car next to McKnight’s, McKnight was hanging onto the trunk of his own car and causing its doors to slide closed. According to Pierre, he asked McKnight to lower the “strange” tires. When he did not, he began to argue and he and McKnight then began to walk away. When they reached the car, McKnight went inside and he and Pierre began to talk. According to Pierre, he said something about police and that McKnight said something about white people. Pierre told the court he then noticed a white man walking ahead of them and he said it looked like “he didn’t care” what was happening.
Another witness, Emmitt Terry, told the court he spotted the white man after he made the comment about white people. “I looked at my passenger side window and I could see black and brown kids,” he said. “I saw the red car. They looked African-American. I just said to myself, ‘You know this could be police.'” Terry said that he then heard the gunshots and when he ran outside he saw McKnight lying on the ground. Terry said McKnight was “doing nothing” and Terry told him, “Get up, get up.”
Another witness, Joe Shannon, said McKnight and Pierre had been getting into a fight before the fatal shooting. Shannon said the incident led him to leave the scene. Jean Pierre, who witnessed the confrontation before the shooting, said she also left the scene.
Shannon said that on Jan. 1, before McKnight and Pierre were shot, Pierre talked about him having walked away from his girlfriend, but said he was upset about McKnight.
Testimony continues Wednesday morning.