As Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict 'Upheaval' Nears, Chicago Police Cancel Days Off

The Chicago Police Department has reportedly canceled regularly scheduled days off for its officers over fears of potential unrest if Illinois defendant Kyle Rittenhouse is acquitted.

First Deputy Police Supt. Eric Carter made the announcement that starting from Friday, all scheduled days off for all sworn personnel will be canceled in an internal memo seen by the Chicago-Sun Times.

"All RDO [regular day off] personnel will be attired in the prescribed regulation field uniform of the day, including helmet, baton and yellow safety vest," Carter said.

In a statement to Newsweek, a Chicago Police spokesman added: "To enhance public safety and to address current crime patterns, all full-duty sworn members will have one regular day off canceled this upcoming weekend between November 12, 2021 through November 14, 2021."

While the department makes no mention of Rittenhouse, who is currently on trial for murder in the Wisconsin city of Kensoha, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said the cancelation of days off for all rank-and-file officers was just in case a verdict "doesn't go positive."

In a video posted on Youtube, Catanzara said the Chicago Police Department and the city were violating an agreement in which officers must be given sufficient notice before days off are canceled.

"There was no notice. They do not get to just keep saying, 'We need manpower just in case, you know, a verdict doesn't go positive' and, all of a sudden, there's upheaval," Catanzara said.

"That's not the way this department needs to be [run]. But that's what happens when you put a hack in charge of doing the mayor's bidding in the second spot. And you all know who I'm talking about. It just doesn't stop with this guy. He is such a pathetic leader. I don't even know how he looks himself in the mirror."

In August 2020, the then 17-year-old Rittenhouse traveled from his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, to attend the Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha which broke out in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

During the disorder, Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz. His lawyers say the now 18-year-old was acting in self-defense and only fired the semi-automatic rifle because he was being chased by an angry crowd of protesters or threatened with a gun.

Prosecutors are arguing that Rittenhouse did not travel across states to provide medical assistance to those injured during the unrest or protect the city from the Black Lives Matter protesters, but instead instigated the violence that occurred that night.

Ever since he was arrested, the case surrounding Rittenhouse has divided along political lines across the country.

Rittenhouse was embraced as a hero by conservative figures, while others argued there was a racist element to the shooting given police allowed armed far-right extremist groups to patrol the streets in a city where activists were protesting against a white officer's shooting of a Black man.

"It's another battle in what has become the central story of our time—the culture wars," John Baick, who teaches modern American history at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts, previously told the Associated Press.

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Kyle Rittenhouse sits with his attorneys after a lunch break and waits for proceedings to start at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 9, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images