MILWAUKEE (CBS) — The family of Anthony Huber, one of two men shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse during civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin nearly a year ago, sued local law enforcement agencies Tuesday claiming they were partially to blame for what they called Rittenhouse’s “deadly rampage.”
The lawsuit by Huber’s parents, John Huber and Karen Bloom, names the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s office as defendants.READ MORE: Chicago Sky Win First WNBA Championship As They Top Phoenix Mercury
“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,” attorneys said in a news release. “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.”
Prosecutors say Rittenhouse, who is White, left his home in Antioch, Illinois, and traveled to Kenosha after learning of a call to protect businesses after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police seven times in the back on Aug. 23, 2020 and left paralyzed. In the first couple of nights after police shot Blake, there was large-scale unrest in Kenosha during which several buildings were set on fire.
Rittenhouse opened fire with an assault-style rifle during protests two nights after police shot Blake. Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum and then Huber, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz.
Rittenhouse and his attorneys have argued he fired in self-defense.
Attorneys said before Rittenhouse arrived, armed militia members posted “racist and violent messages” on social media and gave the Kenosha police chief advance notice that they were coming to the city. The attorneys claimed Kenosha police “praised and encouraged” the armed militia members as they walked down the streets in Kenosha with dangerous weapons, and did not try to disarm or stop them.READ MORE: Jubilant And Inspired Fans, Booming Businesses Near Wintrust Arena As Chicago Sky Win WNBA Championship
Militia members also said on video that police planned to push the demonstrators toward them, so the militia members could “deal with” the protesters, attorneys said.
The lawsuit further said that instead of arresting Rittenhouse after he had shot and killed Rosenbaum and Huber and wounded Grosskreutz, Kenosha police allowed him just to walk away.
“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,” Huber family attorney Anand Swaminathan said in the release. “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 Kenosha police and the county Sheriff’s officer responsible for “inviting” armed militia members to come and patrol the streets and creating a dangerous environment that led to Rittenhouse opening fire.
“The police are supposed to serve and protect,” 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 further claims Kenosha police treated demonstrators and militia members differently in what amounted to racial discrimination and retaliation for protests.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Slow Warm-Up Beginning
There was no immediate response from the law enforcement agencies.