Gaige Grosskreutz, who was shot by Kyle Rittenhouse during racial justice
protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year, is suing the city, the county
and several law enforcement officers, claiming they condoned the efforts
of white nationalists to violently dispel demonstrators protesting a
A wave of protests erupted in Kenosha in August of last year following the
shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot multiple times by a
white police officer at point-blank range and left paralyzed from the
At one of the protests, the then 17-year-old Rittenhouse shot and killed
two people — Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum — and wounded Grosskreutz,
who says he lost 90% of his right bicep. Prosecutors have charged
Rittenhouse with killing the two men and shooting Grosskreutz.
Rittenhouse, whose trial has been delayed until November, claims the
shootings were in self-defense and has pleaded not guilty.
According to Grosskreutz's federal lawsuit filed in the Eastern District
of Wisconsin on Thursday, authorities in Kenosha not only knew that armed
vigilantes planned to patrol the protest attended by Black Lives Matter
supporters, but also encouraged their participation.
"It was not a mistake that Kyle Rittenhouse would kill two people and maim
a third on that evening," the lawsuit claims. "It was a natural
consequence of the actions of the Kenosha Police Department and Kenosha
Sherriff's office in deputizing a roving militia to 'protect property' and
'assist in maintaining order.'"
Grosskreutz says the coordination between authorities and armed citizens
like Rittenhouse deprived the protestors of their constitutional right to
freedom of speech, endangering them during the demonstration.
"Defendants' open support of and coordination with the armed individuals
in the minutes and hours before the shootings deprived Anthony Huber and
the other protestors of the basic protections typically provided by
police," the lawsuit says. "It was a license for the armed individuals to
wreak havoc and inflict injury."
The lawsuit also alleges that the police treated Rittenhouse the way they
did because he was white, and that if an armed Black man had offered to
patrol the protest, "he most likely would have been shot dead."
NPR reached out to the city of Kenosha and its police department, as well
as Kenosha County and its sheriff's office, but did not immediately get a
Since the shootings, Rittenhouse has received support from conservative
groups and Blue Lives Matter activists. President Trump declined to
condemn his actions in the days after the shootings.
The Kenosha Police Department announced in April that Rusten Sheskey, the
officer who shot Blake, acted within department policy and wouldn't face
discipline. Federal prosecutors said this month that they would not file
charges against Sheskey.
Blake has filed a federal lawsuit against Sheskey, accusing him of