A Wisconsin federal judge has ruled that a wrongful death civil lawsuit brought by the family of Anthony Huber, a man shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse, will proceed. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman struck down a motion from Rittenhouse’s attorneys requesting that the lawsuit be dismissed.
Rittenhouse was acquitted in 2021 of homicide charges brought against him after the then 17-year-old shot three men, killing two, during demonstrations protesting the police killing of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
While the lawsuit was originally filed against Wisconsin law enforcement in 2021, Rittenhouse was added as a defendant in January of last year. John Huber, the father of Anthony Huber, has accused Rittenhouse of conspiring with law enforcement to harm protesters.
Despite counter claims from law enforcement and Rittenhouse, and reports that Rittenhouse went to great lengths to avoid being served, Adelman determined that Huber’s complaint “adequately pleads federal and state claims against the governmental defendants and Rittenhouse.”
The complaint alleges that Rittenhouse and other armed counter-protesters “were subject to a different set of rules and were allowed to move about freely in areas controlled by the Law Enforcement Defendants,” in contrast to the treatment of protesters. Despite openly carrying a rifle, the complaint states that Rittenhouse was never questioned by authorities. At the time, Rittenhouse was a minor unauthorized to possess such a weapon. The lawsuit further alleges that law enforcement “[forced] protestors into a confined area with hostile, armed individuals,” and failed to “protect the protestors from violence perpetrated by the armed individuals,” resulting in Huber’s death.
Adelman stated in his ruling that Huber’s death could have been “proximately caused by the actions of the governmental defendants.” The judge described the complaint as alleging that “the only reason Rittenhouse was allowed to walk away after shooting three people was because he was white and because he was affiliated with the armed individuals.”
An attorney for Rittenhouse told the Associated Press that, while they respect the judge’s decision, they “do not believe there is any evidence of a conspiracy and we are confident, just as a Kenosha jury found, Kyle’s actions that evening were not wrongful and were undertaken in self defense.”
Huber’s family has not yet specified what they are seeking in terms of damages, but an attorney for the family told reporters that the decision to allow the case to move forward “puts Anthony’s family one step closer to justice for their son’s needless death.”
The case will now move into a discovery phase, with the expectation of a jury trial at a later date.