The family of a man shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse at last year’s Kenosha, Wisconsin protests has filed a federal civil lawsuit against local law enforcement. The lawsuit alleges the city of Kenosha, along with its police department and the county sheriff’s department, conspired with members of a White militia, allowing them to commit injuries. It is the first major lawsuit against Kenosha authorities.
The August 25, 2020 event involved demonstrators protesting against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 27-year-old Black man left paralyzed after being shot seven times by a White police officer.
Shootings Captured on Video
Anthony Huber, 26, tried to disarm Rittenhouse and was shot in the chest. Rittenhouse shot and killed another man, Joseph Rosenblum, 36, and shot and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz. The shootings were captured on video. All the men involved were White.
While the Huber lawsuit is the first major lawsuit to emerge against Kenosha officials since the shooting, others will follow. The lawsuit did not specify monetary damages, but the attorney filed a $10 million claim notice against the government in December, as required by law. Grosskreutz’s attorney filed a similar claim notice that month.
The Huber family lawsuit alleges Rittenhouse and other White gunmen received preferential treatment from the police due to their race. Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, who shot three people at the protests, had posts supporting the police on his social media accounts. He had traveled from his Illinois home that night in response to requests from local businessmen for militia protection. Right-wing websites spread these requests.
The Huber family's lawyer said that Rittenhouse approached police officers with his assault rifle after the shootings, while the crowds yelled he had just killed people. The police officers let him go after speaking with him. If he were Black, according to the lawsuit, the police would have treated him differently.
The plaintiffs allege that police permitted White militia members to remain on the streets, they strictly enforced curfew guidelines for the more diverse group of protesters. There is video of police officers handing water bottles to those in the militia, and of them showing support for militia help.
Just Nine Black Officers
The Kenosha Police Department consists of 100 police officers. Nine of them, or 9 percent, are Black. The number has increased by just 1 percent in five years. Former Kenosha police chief Daniel Miskinis, who is named in the lawsuit, admits the numbers do not reflect city demographics.
Out on Bond
Rittenhouse was later arrested and charged with numerous counts. These include reckless homicide, attempted first-degree homicide, and a minor in possession of a dangerous weapon. Rittenhouse claims self-defense.
Rittenhouse was able to post a $2 million bond. Online far-right groups raised the funds. His trial is scheduled for November.
At a court hearing where he tried to prevent Rittenhouse from getting out on bail, John Huber said of his son’s killer that he was an active shooter who tried to flee. “My son lost his life trying to prevent him from escaping. My son is a hero,” he said.