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Kyle Rittenhouse, who as a teenager shot and killed two people at an anti-racism protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is being sued by the estate of one of the men who died, according to court documents.
Since the killings Rittenhouse has become a high-profile figure on the US right, feted at events by rightwingers, appearing on conservative media and lauded by gun rights activists.
But in a lawsuit filed in Wisconsin this week, lawyers representing the estate of Joseph Rosenbaum, who Rittenhouse shot with an assault rifle in August 2020, said Rittenhouse and a series of other defendants had “intentionally and unjustifiably caused the death of Joseph Rosenbaum”.
Rosenbaum’s estate is also suing several law enforcement departments, including the Kenosha police department and Kenosha county sheriff’s department, along with the City of Kenosha.
The lawsuit was submitted on Friday, and the estate is seeking unnamed damages.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Rittenhouse, who was cleared of homicide and attempted homicide, responded: “I’m being sued again for defending my life.”
Rittenhouse was 17 years old when he traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, from his home in Illinois, armed with an assault-style rifle, in August 2020.
Black Lives Matter protests had been taking place in the city after Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a White police officer, leaving Blake partially paralyzed.
On arriving in Kenosha, Rittenhouse joined other armed men acting as a self-described militia and roamed the city, before killing Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 27.
In the Rosenbaum lawsuit, lawyers allege that police, who were seen to be handing out water to groups of armed men – despite them breaching a curfew – did not adequately respond. Newsweek first reported on the filing of the lawsuit.
“The law enforcement 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 lawsuit claims.
“As a result, defendant Rittenhouse fired his assault rifle indiscriminately multiple times at citizens on the street. He shot and killed two men, seriously injured a third, and narrowly missed a fourth.”
Law enforcement, Rosenbaum’s lawsuit claims, “did nothing to stop” Rittenhouse’s conduct.
“They did not disarm him. They did not limit his movement in any way. They did not question him. They did not stop him from shooting individuals after he started. They did not arrest him, detain him, or question him even after he had killed two people.”
Rittenhouse returned to Illinois after the killings, and was arrested at home in Antioch the next day. He was found not guilty on charges related to the shootings in November 2021, but is facing two other lawsuits, from the family of Huber and from Grosskreutz, who Rittenhouse shot in the arm.
Rittenhouse, Kenosha police department, the City of Kenosha and other parties named in the lawsuit did not respond to requests for comment.
“Defendants intentionally and unjustifiably caused the death of Joseph Rosenbaum,” the lawsuit alleges.
“As a consequence, the estate have suffered and continue to suffer, significant emotion of distress and harm, including but not limited to the loss of society and companionship with Rosenbaum.”
This article was obtained via The Guardian.