Family of man fatally shot by Kyle Rittenhouse sues Kenosha

Family of man fatally shot by Kyle Rittenhouse sues Kenosha
© Kenosha County District Attorney

The family of a man who was fatally shot by Kyle Rittenhouse during social unrest last summer in Kenosha, Wis., sued the city on Tuesday, claiming that Kenosha and its local law enforcement departments “deputized” and “conspired” with armed individuals.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of John Huber, the father of Anthony Huber, who was shot by Rittenhouse.

The suit specifically names the Kenosha County sheriff, the former chief of police and acting chief of police of the Kenosha Police Department and “John Doe police officers of the Kenosha Police Department and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department,” in addition to the city and county of Kenosha.


The complaint alleges that the defendants “did not treat Rittenhouse or any of the other armed individuals patrolling the streets as a threat to the safety of themselves or the citizens they were sworn to protect.”

Instead, John Huber says the defendants “deputized these armed individuals, conspired with them, and ratified their actions by letting them patrol the streets, armed with deadly weapons, to mete out justice as they saw fit.”

The suit also alleges that the defenders thanked Rittenhouse and other armed individuals for their actions, gave them water and “allowed them to openly defy the emergency curfew order that was in place.”

“Defendants even made plans to funnel the protestors toward the armed individuals ‘deal with them,’ ” the suit says.

As a result of the defendants' lax action with armed individuals, Rittenhouse opened fire in the street, shooting and killing two men, seriously injuring a third and narrowly missing a fourth, the plaintiffs further argued.

Huber alleged that the “conduct of the Kenosha Police Department, Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, and its supervisors and police officers, directly caused Anthony Huber’s death,” later adding that the protections afforded by the defendants served as a “license for the armed individuals to wreak havoc and inflict injury.”

“Anthony’s father, John Huber, and his mother, Karen Bloom, now seek justice for death of their son,” the suit continues.

Rittenhouse, then 17, shot and killed Anthony Huber, 26, on Aug. 25, 2020, after a chase, with Huber trying to disarm him with his skateboard. Rittenhouse has since contended that he was acting out of self defense.

Social unrest erupted in the city following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back several times. Blake survived the shooting, but the injuries that he received during the incident rendered him paralyzed. 

Rittenhouse is currently facing counts of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree homicide, in addition to other charges for possessing a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18 and reckless endangerment. He is awaiting trial in November.

His bail was set at $2 million in November.

The lawsuit also claims that Rittenhouse received special treatment from the defendants because of his race, contending that if he were Black the law enforcement officials “would have acted much differently.”

“If a Black person had approached police with an assault rifle, offering to patrol the streets with the police, he most likely would have been shot dead,” John Huber alleged.

Anand Swaminathan, an attorney representing Anthony Huber’s family, told The Washington Post that the presence of armed individuals roaming the streets made the eruption of gun violence “perfectly foreseeable.”

Sam Hall, an attorney representing Kenosha County and Sheriff David Beth in the lawsuit, told The Hill in a statement that the allegations presented against his clients are “demonstrably false.”

“While we understand that the family of Anthony Huber is grieving his loss, we must make it clear that the allegations against Sheriff Beth and the Kenosha Sheriff’s Office are demonstrably false and that the facts will show that Mr. Huber’s death was not caused by any actions or inactions of Kenosha County law enforcement,” Hall wrote.

Updated at 6:07 p.m.