Last week, Rick Schroder helped post bail for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old accused of killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wis., in August. Now the actor is explaining why.
“This was Kyle’s life being destroyed,” Schroder told the New York Post Wednesday. “This is his freedom at risk. It infuriated me to see an innocent 17-year-old young man being tried and found guilty before trial.”
The "Silver Spoons" and "NYPD Blue" star put up "hundreds of thousands" of dollars toward Rittenhouse's $2-million bail and his defense because he was upset that the teen was being tried in the media.
“It made me mad,” the former child actor told the Post. “This boy is innocent and he will be proven innocent. I did what any father should’ve done, and that’s get a kid out of jail that doesn’t deserve to be there.”
KYLE RITTENHOUSE IS OUT OF JAIL.
God bless ALL who donated to help #FightBack raise required $2M cash bail.
Special thanks to Actor Ricky Schroder @rickyshroder1 & Mike Lindell @realMikeLindell for putting us over the top.
Kyle is SAFE.
Thanks to ALL who helped this boy.
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) November 20, 2020
Schroder has two sons and two daughters with Andrea Bernard, who filed for divorce in 2016.
He said he faced a similar situation when he was arrested twice last year on suspicion of domestic violence. No charges were filed after his girlfriend was uncooperative, reportedly telling prosecutors that the first arrest was "a big misunderstanding" and blaming the second incident on herself for startling Schroder as he slept.
“It sucked because everybody thought I was a woman beater, and I’m not a woman beater,” Schroder told the Post. “I was tried and convicted in the court of the media. But you have to understand, that’s only my reputation that was being destroyed."
The actor is a supporter of gun ownership and a 30-year National Rifle Assn. member, according to the Post. TMZ reported Tuesday that Schroder reached out to police after seeing threatening messages on social media in reaction to his support for Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse has been charged with six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide, related to the deaths of two men during protests following the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake. During multiple nights of protests, a number of Kenosha businesses and vehicles were set on fire.
“People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business,” Rittenhouse said in a video before the shootings.
“Part of my job also is to protect people,” Rittenhouse said. “If someone is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle; I’ve got to protect myself obviously. But I also have my med kit.”
Last Friday, Rittenhouse's attorney Lin Wood announced his client's release on $2-million bail — and Schroder and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell's involvement — in a tweet. Close to $600,000 was also raised for Rittenhouse's defense via a Christian fundraising site, GiveSendGo. In a letter posted there, Wood called Rittenhouse a "political prisoner." College Republicans at Arizona State University also vowed to donate to his defense.
The full $2-million bail had to be paid in cash after Rittenhouse was extradited to Wisconsin last month from his home state of Illinois. While Illinois allows for bail bonds, Wisconsin does not.
The teen was open-carrying an AR-15 rifle, which he said he obtained from a friend in Wisconsin. Open carry is legal in Wisconsin only if the gun owner is 18 or older.
Rittenhouse's legal team is arguing self-defense, saying the teen was pursued by members of a mob that threatened him with death and attempted to disarm him. The New York Times has tracked Rittenhouse's movements via video footage on the night in question.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.