A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled on Feb. 1 that a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of a man shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse during violent civil unrest in 2020 can proceed against Rittenhouse, police officers and others.
Anthony Huber was one of two men shot and killed by Rittenhouse in the small city of Kenosha amidst night-time riots and arson attacks sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by police two days earlier.
His father, John Huber, filed the lawsuit in 2021, alleging that then 17-year-old Rittenhouse conspired with police to cause harm to protestors. He accused officers of violating his son’s constitutional rights by allowing for a dangerous situation to escalate, ultimately resulting in his death.
Huber is seeking unspecified damages.
Motions seeking to dismiss the lawsuit were rejected by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, effectively stating Huber’s death could have resulted from the actions of the governmental defendants.
In a phone interview, Rittenhouse’s attorney Shane Martin expressed the significance of noting that the ruling only allows the case to proceed to the next phase—without addressing or implicating its merits.
“While we respect the judge’s decision, we 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,” Martin said.
Huber hired attorneys and private investigators in an attempt to locate Rittenhouse. They spent more than 100 hours tracking down addresses in seven states.
Eventually, they located the home of his mother and sister in Florida, but Rittenhouse was not present at the address. The lawsuit was subsequently served on Rittenhouse’s sister, which Adelman says does suffice as service notice.
Adelman has dismissed Rittenhouse’s claims that the case against him should be dropped due to improper procedures surrounding the service of the lawsuit, accusing Rittenhouse of evading service by not divulging his whereabouts.
“Although he denies living in Florida, he does not identify the place that he deems to be his residence,” Adelman wrote.
There was no immediate reply from attorneys for the law enforcement and government officials being sued.
Anand Swaminathan, one of the legal representatives for Anthony Huber’s parents, said that the ruling is a step closer towards justice for the parents.
“The Kenosha officials that created a powder keg situation by their actions tried to claim that they cannot be held accountable for their unconstitutional conduct; that argument was soundly rejected today,” Swaminathan said in a statement.
Following the shooting, Rittenhouse was charged with homicide, attempted homicide, and reckless endangering for the killings of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. A third person was also wounded by Rittenhouse.
After testifying that he acted in self-defense, Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in November 2021.
On the night of the killings, Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha from his home in nearby Antioch, Illinois. Following the shooting of Blake by police, businesses in the area were vandalized, ransacked, and torched.
Rittenhouse was among several armed civilians on the streets. Authorities said that due to being underage, it was illegal for him to carry a firearm.
After shooting 36-year Rosenbaum in a parking lot, Rittenhouse ran from the scene when he stumbled and fell. He was then attacked by 26-year-old Anthony Huber, who struck Rittenhouse with his skateboard.
After falling to the ground, Rittenhouse fatally shot Huber. Another protester, 27- year-old Gaige Grosskreutz, was wounded during the altercation.
Grosskreutz also filed a lawsuit against Rittenhouse last year, making the case one of several ongoing civil lawsuits filed in the wake of the shootings.
Rittenhouse has garnered a large social media following, maintaining a high public profile. He is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, having amassed nearly 1 million followers on Twitter. He has also spoken at multiple conservative gatherings.
He said last year he would sue some media and prominent figures for defaming him over the shootings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.