The Wisconsin man who was shot in the arm by a then-teenaged Kyle Rittenhouse during a 2020 protest over police brutality has added Rittenhouse to his civil lawsuit against the city of Kenosha and local officials.
Gaige Grosskreutz was shot in the arm on Aug. 25, 2020, by Rittenhouse, who had traveled from his home state of Illinois to Kenosha, Wisc., as a counterprotestor to a demonstration over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse, armed with a rifle, shot and killed two people that night before injuring Grosskreutz, who, according to the lawsuit, was trying to stop Rittenhouse, then 17, from doing further damage.
“Mr. Grosskreutz tried to end Defendant Rittenhouse’s homicidal rampage,” the complaint says.
At the end of his criminal trial in which he argued self-defense, Rittenhouse was acquitted of homicide charges.
Now 20, Rittenhouse has been added as a defendant to Grosskreutz’s civil lawsuit, which was filed in October of 2021 against both the city and county of Kenosha, as well as local law enforcement officials. Grosskreutz is seeking an undetermined amount of compensatory and punitive damages.
Rittenhouse had traveled some 20 miles from where he lived in Antioch, Illinois, to the demonstration in Kenosha.
Over the course of that night, Rittenhouse shot four people, the lawsuit alleges: Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, who were killed; an unidentified man who, according to the lawsuit tried to kick the gun out of Rittenhouse’s hands and ran when Rittenhouse fired at him; and Grosskreutz, who was shot in the bicep as he approached Rittenhouse following the other shootings.
According to the complaint, Grosskreutz, having watched Rittenhouse fire on three other people, had “tried to end Defendant Rittenhouse’s homicidal rampage,” approaching him “with his hands in the air to try to ease the situation and stop the killing.”
Instead, he says, Rittenhouse shot him “in the bicep, leaving a gaping wound.”
Grosskreutz’s allegations against Rittenhouse include assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit also adds Rittenhouse to Grosskreutz’s civil rights and Equal Protection claims against the city and local officials.
“Defendants’ conduct was motivated by racial animus and constituted purposeful discrimination, and it also affected Grosskreutz and the racially diverse group of protestors in a grossly disproportionate manner as compared to similarly situated White individuals,” the complaint says. “Specifically, working in concert with these others, Defendants targeted individuals of color and individuals allied with them in protest against racial discrimination, including Grosskreutz, by creating a dangerous environment in which injury to Grosskreutz and others was highly likely.”
Grosskreutz links Rittenhouse to right-wing white nationalist and militia groups, noting that a member of the so-called Boogaloo Bois was seen “patrolling the streets” with Rittenhouse that night, and that he has since met with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who would later be charged with burning a Black Lives Matter flag in Washington and playing a key role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“In the months after he killed two people and maimed Mr. Grosskreutz, Defendant Rittenhouse was seen in a bar in his hometown flashing an ‘OK’ sign, a symbol of white supremacy/white power,” the complaint says, referring to an image that didn’t factor into Rittenhouse’s trial.
The lawsuit says that local law enforcement “did nothing to stop Defendant Rittenhouse’s illegal conduct. Instead, the lawsuit alleges, local police “deputized” Rittenhouse and other armed people, conspiring with them and endorsing their actions “by allowing them to patrol the streets armed illegally with deadly weapons and shoot and kill innocent citizens.”
The complaint recalls that a law enforcement official is heard saying to Rittenhouse and others: “We appreciate you guys, we really do.”
Rittenhouse was charged with murder in connection with the deaths of Rosenbaum and Huber and with attempted murder for shooting Grosskreutz. He was acquitted on all counts in November 2021.
At that trial, Grosskreutz testified that although he was armed when he approached Rittenhouse, he had no intention of shooting him.
Rittenhouse responded with a tweet after being added to Grosskreutz’s lawsuit.
“This lawsuit is an attempt to drown anyone who legally and justifiable defense there [sic] lives from attackers in a mountain of legal debt,” Rittenhouse said on twitter on Tuesday. “We can not let them win. If they can come after me they will come after you.”
This lawsuit is an attempt to drown anyone who legally and justifiably defends there lives from attackers in a mountain of legal debt. We can not let them win. If they can come after me they will come after you. https://t.co/CJxXlGnUMO
— Kyle Rittenhouse (@ThisIsKyleR) February 21, 2023
Rittenhouse faces a similar lawsuit from Huber’s family.
Read Grosskreutz’s amended complaint here.
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