Oct 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Kenosha shooting lawsuit accuses police of coordinating with militia

Protestors confront police in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse on August 25, 2020.
Police and protesters confront each other in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse on Aug. 25, 2020. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The only survivor of a fatal shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests last year has accused law enforcement in a lawsuit of conspiring with a "band of white nationalist vigilantes," the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Of note: Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, is due to stand trial on Nov. 1, accused of wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, who filed the suit, and killing two other people protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 25, 2020. He's pleaded not guilty to charges including homicide and attempted homicide and maintains he fired in self-defense.

  • The family of Anthony Huber, one of the men Rittenhouse is accused of fatally shooting, filed a lawsuit in August against police, the City of Kenosha, and Kenosha County officials, claiming officers failed to intervene and conspired with white militia members.

Details: Grosskreutz, 27, accuses a law enforcement officer in his suit, filed in a Milwaukee federal court on Thursday, of saying to a group of armed males including Rittenhouse during unrest over Blake's shooting: "We appreciate you guys — we really do."

  • "Kenosha law enforcement officers and white nationalist militia persons discussed and coordinated strategy," alleges the suit, which seeks a jury trial along with unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and "injunctive relief to prevent future violations of the law."
  • The lawsuit names the City of Kenosha, Kenosha County and individual officers including the city's police chief and the county sheriff.

What they're saying: An attorney representing Kenosha County and Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told CNN that Grosskreutz's allegations were "false" and they would file a motion seeking dismissal of the case.

  • "The lawsuit also fails to acknowledge that Mr. Grosskreutz was himself armed with a firearm when he was shot and Mr. Grosskreutz failed to file this lawsuit against the person who actually shot him," added the attorney, Samuel Hall.

For the record: The Justice Department announced earlier this month that it would not pursue criminal civil rights charges against the Kenosha police officer who shot Blake seven times in the back as he entered a vehicle, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

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