THRALL, Texas (KXAN) — A Central Texas police officer pulled over a car last week and ended up snapping a selfie with one of the passengers: Kyle Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse became known nationwide in the wake of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in 2020. Rittenhouse went to Kenosha in an effort to protect property, he told authorities, and shot and killed two men and hurt a third. A jury acquitted him in November.
On Aug. 11, a Thrall police officer pulled over the driver of a car for a “traffic infraction” as they were traveling on U.S. Highway 79. That driver was issued a warning, Thrall Police Chief Whitney Whitworth said, and clarified Rittenhouse was a passenger in the car.
The same day, the police department posted a selfie with the caption, “Make those stops, you never know who you might meet. Today it was Kyle Rittenhouse, welcome to Texas.” The two, both with sunglasses pushed back on their heads, smile in front of a dark-colored car.
The post has more than 13,000 reactions, 1,900 shares and 1,700 comments. Some criticized the department for the post, while others posted in support of Rittenhouse and similarly welcomed him to the state.
The department limited who could comment on the post and included in its text “I must have missed something, I believed that this young man was arrested, charged, indicted and then found not guilty by a jury of his peers. Is this not how our country works anymore? The hate in these comments is terrible, if you have information that is contrary to that I would honestly love to hear it.”
Chief Whitworth shared information about the traffic stop Tuesday with KXAN and added “I prefer not to make any further statements.”
Rittenhouse tweeted in June he planned to attend Blinn College and said he hoped to attend Texas A&M in 2023. Blinn is a community college with locations in Brenham and Bryan and, according to the Texas Tribune, has strong transfer partnerships with the university.
Shortly after he was acquitted, Rittenhouse joined NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield for an hour-long interview, where he talked about hoping to return to school and continue studying nursing, although he added he was interested in looking into law. He also said someone “helps with security” and, at the time, tried to avoid being recognized.
“I don’t really like when fans recognize me or anti-fans recognize me. I just like to try to be normal,” he said.