Man spotted with AR-15 outside Kyle Rittenhouse trial confirms he is a fired Ferguson police officer

Man spotted with AR-15 outside Kyle Rittenhouse trial confirms he is a fired Ferguson police officer

A man who screamed obscenities about Black Lives Matter and carried an AR-15 rifle outside the Kenosha County Courthouse while the Kyle Rittenhouse jury deliberated is a former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer, he confirmed Thursday.

Records show the man — who initially identified himself as “Maserati Mike” — is Jesse Kline, who had been a member of the Ferguson Police Department for three years. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kline was fired from the Ferguson Police Department in 2018 after being charged with stalking a woman and threatening her male companion by poking his chest with a handgun.

The criminal charges were later dropped because the couple refused to testify, the newspaper reported.

Kline confirmed he used to be with the Police Department.

“Jesse Kline. Prior Ferguson police Officer Jesse Kline,” he shouted at the crowd.

Kline joined the Ferguson Police Department in 2015, following the shooting of Michael Brown, a Black man, by a white police officer. Brown’s death, which did not result in criminal charges, sparked protests and acts of vandalism in the St. Louis suburb.

Kline has protested outside the Kenosha County Courthouse for the past three days, bringing a gun to the demonstration Wednesday for a brief time. Wearing a tactical vest, button-down shirt, bow tie, slacks and dress shoes, Kline spent part of the morning yelling “Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization” and screaming “(expletive) BLM!” through a megaphone as he stood in the public way across the street from the courthouse.

Kenosha County sheriff’s deputies told Kline, who drove to the courthouse in a Maserati with Illinois plates, that he could not have the rifle there because he was within 1,000 feet of a school if he did not have a permit.

“If you want to be here, you’re going to have to put the rifle away,” a deputy said.

Under Wisconsin law, any individual who knowingly possesses a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school is subject to a fine up to $1,000. A sheriff’s spokesman said the incident was resolved without action when he voluntarily put away his rifle.

Kline, who had attended the protests a day earlier with a dog, returned to the courthouse without a rifle, though he kept a sound system that blasted “Build a B----” by Bella Poarch and “Ride It” by DJ Regard, among other TikTok hits.

He returned to the courthouse Thursday with his dog, carrying a bullhorn and a long, narrow tote bag that was similar in appearance to a rifle case.

“I don’t talk to the media,” he shouted, pacing back and forth with the animal while playing rap music.

Reached later by phone, Kline told the Tribune he had been fired from the Ferguson force because of the criminal charges. He said the case was dropped and later expunged from court records.

Describing his current career as “an investor,” he said he traveled to Kenosha from Arizona for the demonstrations.

Justin Blake, whose nephew, Jacob Blake, was shot seven times by a white police officer, led a group on the courthouse steps in chanting, “We won’t be intimidated.”

Kline shouted he had a right to protest and denied he was trying to incite violence.

“If my presence bothers you, you’re a bigot,” he said.

Protesters also yelled at Kline, who stayed for about 30 minutes, for bringing his short-haired dog to the protests amid cold temperatures.

Kline, in response, pulled out a large, apparent sex toy and waved it around. He called the crowd “morons” and other derogatory names, then left.