Lawsuit Alleges That Kenosha Police Facilitated Kyle Rittenhouse’s Deadly Rampage and Allowed Him to Kill and Harm Peaceful Protestors In the Wake of the Police Shooting of Jacob Blake
Milwaukee – Almost one year ago, Anthony Huber was tragically shot and killed in downtown Kenosha by Kyle Rittenhouse during peaceful demonstrations against police violence that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Today, the family of Anthony Huber has filed a constitutional civil rights lawsuit in federal court against the City of Kenosha Police Department and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department for their role in Rittenhouse’s deadly rampage that left the Hubers’ son Anthony dead.
Kenosha City and County Police took sides during the peaceful protest and deputized Kyle Rittenhouse and the other armed, pro-police militia members to patrol the streets and control demonstrators who were protesting police violence and racism. The lawsuit alleges that the police invited in Rittenhouse and other illegally armed individuals to patrol the streets with deadly weapons to mete out justice as they saw fit.
The lawsuit also lays out a detailed timeline of the events leading up to Rittenhouse’s shooting spree and its aftermath. Armed militia members posted racist and violent messages on social media and gave the Kenosha Chief of Police advance notice they were coming. Kenosha Police praised and encouraged the armed militia members when they arrived, allowed them to patrol the street with dangerous weapons, and made no effort to stop or disarm illegally armed individuals. Making matters worse, militia members were captured on video saying that the police planned to push the demonstrators toward armed militia members so that they could “deal with them.” Shortly afterward, Rittenhouse’s shooting spree began. When it ended, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum were dead, and Gaige Grosskreutz had been shot and injured. Instead of arresting Rittenhouse, Kenosha Police allowed him to walk right past them and away from the scene of the crimes.
“After he had killed and maimed multiple individuals, Kyle Rittenhouse walked up to a dozen Kenosha police officers, assault rifle in hand, with crowds yelling that he had just killed innocent people. What did the police do? They spoke to him and let him walk away,” said Huber family attorney Anand Swaminathan. “Make no mistake: if Kyle Rittenhouse had been Black, or had been wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, there is no way on God’s green earth he would have been allowed to walk away. More likely he would have been shot dead in the street.”
The lawsuit seeks to hold the City of Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department responsible for inviting armed militia members to patrol the streets, deputizing and conspiring with them to control peaceful civilians, and creating a dangerous and unsafe environment in which armed militia members took matters into their own hands, leading predictably to Rittenhouse’s deadly rampage.
“The police are supposed to serve and protect,” Anthony’s father, John Huber, said in a statement, “but that’s not what the Kenosha police did. They walked away from their duties and turned over the streets of Kenosha to Kyle Rittenhouse and other armed vigilantes. If they had done their job, my son would still be alive today.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the decision of Kenosha Police to treat demonstrators and militia members differently was motivated by racial discrimination and was in retaliation for protests critical of police violence. While Kenosha Police allowed armed militia members who were white and supported the police to roam the streets illegally with weapons, they controlled and strictly enforced a curfew against peaceful protestors, who were a diverse group speaking out against police violence. That discriminatory and retaliatory conduct violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of a right to free speech and peaceful assembly and to equal protection of the law.
“There is an ongoing criminal process to hold Kyle Rittenhouse accountable for his actions. But so far there has been zero accountability for the Kenosha Police who let Rittenhouse fire an assault weapon at peaceful civilians. That ends today.” said Steve Art, another one of the Huber family’s attorneys. “In Kenosha, Wisconsin, Kyle Rittenhouse was allowed to shoot three people in the street with an assault weapon and then walk away, while Jacob Blake was shot by police seven times in the back while he walked unarmed to a car in which two children were waiting. Kenosha authorities should be ashamed of themselves.”
Anthony Huber’s mother, Karen Bloom, said the lawsuit is about justice for her son, and his legacy. “After Anthony’s death, there will always be a hole in my heart. But his memory lives on, and I will never stop telling his story.”
The Huber family is represented by Jon Loevy, Elizabeth Wang, Anand Swaminathan, Steven Art, and David B. Owens, of the civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law. Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms. A copy of today’s suit, Case No. 2:21-cv-00969, can be found here.