Were the Kenosha Police Deputizing Militia Vigilantes During Protests?

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New legal action brought against the Kenosha, Wisconsin Police Department by Gaige Grosskreutz, who was wounded during the incident, alleges that local police effectively deputized a “band of white nationalist vigilantes” during protests sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake in which 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse killed two people, reports The Guardian. According to the complaint, which names the city, county, Kenosha Police Chief Eric Larsen, County Sheriff David Beth and former Kenosha police chief Daniel Miskinis, as defendants, a law enforcement officer offered Rittenhouse “words of encouragement, appreciation, and thanks” for his support.

“We appreciate you guys – we really do,” the unnamed officer is alleged to have said to Rittenhouse, who faces trial on homicide charges in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and an attempted homicide charge for shooting Grosskreutz, who lost part of his bicep. Grosskreutz’s suit against the Kenosha police follows a legal action brought by the family of Huber in August which claims the city of Kenosha and its police and county sheriff’s departments conspired with white militia members, giving them “license … to wreak havoc and inflict injury”. Cellphone video captured the incident as Huber and Grosskreutz pursued Rittenhouse after Rosenbaum was shot. After Rittenhouse trips, he is seen to fire at Huber and then shoots Grosskreutz with an AR-style semiautomatic rifle.

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