Gaige Grosskreutz survived his encounter with Kyle Rittenhouse and is now suing the Kenosha Police Department. Grosskreutz alleges the police invited an environment that allowed for a violent white supremacist to cause harm.
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the lawsuit claims in part that law enforcement effectively conspired with white supremacist groups during the protest. By acknowledging the presence of armed white vigilantes, law enforcement gave the perception that such action was welcome according to the lawsuit.
Grosskreutz is one of three people shot by Rittenhouse and the only one to survive. Filed Thursday, the lawsuit targets the city of Kenosha, Kenosha County, the former chief of police, acting chief of police, and county sheriff.
By way of his attorneys, Grosskreutz argued that law enforcement knew that militia members were coming into Kenosha and did nothing to dissuade them.
Recounting the events leading up to Rittenhouse’s attack, the complaint opens with a widely reported quote from Kenosha law enforcement officers.
“We appreciate you guys – we really do.”
The introduction to the complaint continues:
These were the words of Kenosha law enforcement officers – words of encouragement, appreciation, and thanks, spoken to Kyle Rittenhouse and a band of white nationalist vigilantes on the evening of August 25, 2020. Earlier in the evening Kenosha law enforcement officers and white nationalist militia persons discussed and coordinated strategy.
It was not a mistake that Kyle Rittenhouse would kill two people and maim a third on that evening. It was a natural consequence of the actions of the Kenosha Police Department and Kenosha Sherriff’s office in deputizing a roving militia to “protect property” and “assist in maintaining order.
A video surfaced last year of law enforcement thanking a group of armed white men for helping to patrol. Accounts also indicate law enforcement offered those gathered water.
While there is a long history of police consorting with racist vigilante groups, the incident served to remind the deeply entrenched white supremacy in some police departments.
Released a few days after Kenosha law enforcement thanked militia members, a Brennan Center report highlighted the history of law enforcement’s fraternization with violent racist groups.
“While it is widely acknowledged that racist officers subsist within police departments around the country, federal, state, and local governments are doing far too little to proactively identify them, report their behavior to prosecutors who might unwittingly rely on their testimony in criminal cases, or protect the diverse communities they are sworn to serve,” read the report.