The sole survivor of the August 2020 shootings by teenager Kyle Rittenhouse amid racial justice unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and several top officials in its police department accusing them of “conspiring” with armed individuals like Rittenhouse and directly facilitating the ensuing deadly violence.
Attorneys representing Gaige Grosskreutz, who was a 22-year-old student in Wisconsin at the time of the shooting, filed a 33-page civil lawsuit late Thursday against the city of Kenosha, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, former police chief Daniel Miskinis and others.
The lawsuit alleges the city officials conspired to deprive Grosskreutz’ civil rights and obstruct justice, among a litany of other claims, including deprivation of due process, failure to intervene and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
It claims police “knew about the plans and intentions” of armed individuals who came to Kenosha amid the protests, but instead of attempting to dissuade them, praised and even offered preferential treatment to the militia members.
The lawsuit highlights that after Rittenhouse fatally shot two men and injured Grosskreutz, who claims he approached the teenager in an attempt to disarm him, police “did nothing to stop Rittenhouse, let alone question him, or arrest him” and in fact let him “walk away and flee across Wisconsin state lines to Illinois.”
Grosskreutz is seeking damages and relief by jury trial for an incident his lawyers say changed his life “immeasurably” and caused “serious” physical and emotional damage (he lost 90% of his right bicep in the shooting, according to the lawsuit).
The city of Kenosha, its police department and a lawyer for Rittenhouse all did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Forbes.
“Defendants invited, deputized, authorized, conspired with, and ratified the actions of Rittenhouse, a child illegally in possession of an assault rifle, who roamed the street in violation of an emergency curfew order, threatening protesters with his weapon of war, and shooting innocent civilians,” the lawsuit claims.
Rittenhouse is facing homicide charges and a misdemeanor charge of underage firearm possession for shooting two people and injuring a third during unrest in Kenosha last August following the non-fatal police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse’s case has become a rallying point for pro-gun groups and conservative pundits who argue the now 18-year-old, as his defense team claims, acted in self defense. They helped generate the $2 million needed for Rittenhouse’s bail in November and have continued to syphon large amounts of money to different Rittenhouse-related fundraising efforts.
What To Watch For
Rittenhouse is set to stand trial next month, with jury selection scheduled to begin November 1. It was originally scheduled for March 29, but was delayed after both sides told the judge they needed more time to prepare.