Lawsuit alleges Wisconsin authorities' conspiracy with racists led to Kyle Rittenhouse killings

Aug 17 (Reuters) - The family of a man fatally shot by U.S. teenager Kyle Rittenhouse during racial justice protests in Wisconsin last August filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the city of Kenosha and local law enforcement, citing their alleged relationship with white militia members.

The federal lawsuit was filed by the family of Anthony Huber, one of two people shot dead by Rittenhouse, then 17, with a semi-automatic rifle during the street protest on Aug. 25, 2020. Huber, 26, was killed when he tried to disarm Rittenhouse with a skateboard.

Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, is awaiting criminal trial in November on charges of first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide in the killings of Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. He is also charged with weapons violations and other crimes during the protest over a Kenosha Police Department officer's shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man.

In addition to the city and county of Kenosha, the lawsuit names Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, former Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis, acting Kenosha Police Chief Eric Larsen as well as "John Doe" Kenosha police and sheriff's officers.

The lawsuit claims that they conspired with white militia members, signaling their tacit approval to engage in violent, dangerous behavior.

"Defendants’ open support of and coordination with the armed individuals in the minutes and hours before the shootings deprived Anthony Huber and the other protestors of the basic protections typically provided by police. It was a license for the armed individuals to wreak havoc and inflict injury," the lawsuit says.

"If Kyle Rittenhouse were Black, Defendants would have acted much differently," the lawsuit argues.

"Many of the armed individuals with whom the Defendant departments had allied themselves were avowed racists," the lawsuit said.

Neither Kenosha police, sheriff nor city and county governments immediately responded to Reuters' requests for comment.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Huber's father, John Huber, in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee and does not specify any monetary damages.

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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