Suicide by Cop a Non-Issue at Rittenhouse Trial — Why Not?

Jim Musgrave
2 min readNov 20, 2021
Suicide by Cop Happens in 14% of All Gun-related Deaths

At the demonstration in Wisconsin, the first person killed, Joseph Rosenbaum, had a history of mental illness (bi-polar disorder). Judge Bruce Shroeder didn’t permit any testimony to this effect at the trial. He was, however, heard to be shouting “Shoot me, shoot me!” during the altercations he had with gun-wielding folks.

My point is that this jury’s decision and this trial opens up a “can of worms” concerning a problem present in this country: suicide by cop. In fact, I spent nine months in a half-way house wherein the manager confessed that he had been such a person, and had lost his left eye due to a bullet shot from a police officer’s gun in San Diego.

This important issue concerns how many other folks will die when they get involved in demonstrations, which will certainly be happening again, especially in 2022 and 2024, and if/when any more police killings take place. According to PubMed, 14% of all officer-involved shootings were classified as “suicide by cop” or “law enforcement-forced-assisted suicide.”

Another fact that wasn’t allowed at the trial was that Mr. Rosenbaum had just been treated for having attempted suicide, which was also not allowed by the judge as testimony at the Rittenhouse trial. My point is that if that testimony would have been allowed, then the defense’s main argument about their client, Rittenhouse, defending himself from somebody who would use his gun to shoot Rittenhouse may have been thwarted.

Because of his shouts of “Shoot me, shoot me” and the fact that so many mentally ill folks die by this method of suicide, the prosecution could have argued that Rosenbaum was not a danger to Rittenhouse and that the accused was “merely” doing what the victim wanted him to do.

In addition, if he had gotten the gun away from Rittenhouse, odds are he may have turned it on himself. At any rate, the fact that nobody with guns at the scene knew about this issue of mental illness created an additional problem that needs to be addressed in light of civilians being allowed to be at crime scenes with assault and/or any other weapons.

Not going to happen now. In fact, mentally ill people wanting to go out “with a bang” will, most likely, seek out such demonstrations to goad others into shooting the “head” that offends them, resulting in more death, more “mistakes,” and more horrible family grief.



Jim Musgrave

Owner/Publisher/Author at EMRE Publishing, LLC, San Diego. Former professor at Caltech (English and Project Mangement). Developer of the Embellisher (TM) ePub3.