Lawyers representing two men shot by Kyle Rittenhouse, one of whom died, have formally notified city and county officials that are they are seeking a total of $20 million in money damages for negligence-related claims under state law in the incident that occurred during the August 25, 2020, civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The two filings, which are likely a harbinger of an intent to sue in court and which contain similar wording although submitted by separate law firms, assert that authorities allowed Rittenhouse “to roam the streets, threatening numerous civilians, and ultimately shooting people, two of whom were killed.” The legal papers also claim that Rittenhouse illegally armed himself with an assault rifle.
The potential responsible parties include the city of Kenosha, Kenosha County, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, the Kenosha Police Department, along with the police chief and the sheriff named personally, as well as other individuals who may be named later. The attorneys noted that they may pursue separate federal charges. Very generally, a negligence finding creates legal liability for the failure to use reasonable care in a situation or not living up to an established duty of some sort.
The legal papers filed on behalf of Greg Grosskreutz and the family of Anthony Huber, also claim that cops allegedly cooperated to some degree with a “far-right militia group” known as the Kenosha Guard that supposedly encouraged and incited violence and that Rittenhouse answered the group’s call to arms.
Kyle Rittenhouse. 17, who has claimed he acted in self-defense, could potentially be subject to a civil lawsuit in addition to pending criminal charges, He faces first-degree intentional homicide and attempted homicide charges, along with curfew violation charge, in connection with the incident during the Jacob Blake protests.
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Grosskreutz was shot “at point-blank range” in the arm without justification, according to his attorney, and “suffered significant permanent physical damage, pain and suffering,” and lost pay as a result. The document also notes that Grosskreutz was present in the area to provide “basic medical assistance” to protesters.
Huber’s attorney indicated the element of damages includes that his client suffered pain and suffering prior to his death, which came as he tried to selflessly disarm Rittenhouse, and that Huber “lost his life to protect innocent civilians” who were protesting the Blake shooting that night. The papers also suggest that his parents are seeking compensation for loss of companionship of their son.
The legal notifications were filed in late December in compliance with a 120-day post-incident deadline as required by the relevant state statute that is controlling for claims against governmental agencies and employees.
The documents contain allegations that would have to be proven in court with accompanying evidence if the claims get that far (barring a settlement of some kind or some other disposition). In addition to liability, lawyers would also need to prove up an exact measure of money damages.
Meanwhile, the city of Kenosha is reportedly making contingency plans for anticipated protests that may occur sometime in the next two weeks when prosecutors are expected to announce their decision about the charges, if any, they will pursue against the police officers involved in the Jacob Blake shooting.
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