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Kenosha: Negligence Claims Filed Against City And County Over Fatal Shootings

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Photo by Scott Olson Getty Images

Police prepare for President Trump's visit on Sept. 1, 2020 to Kenosha, Wis. Claims have been filed against Kenosha city and county, arguing the police and sheriff's department were negligent in their handling of protests on Aug. 25 in which three men were shot.

The series of events that shook the city of Kenosha, Wis., in August continue to reverberate as victims and their families seek justice.

Within the next two weeks, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely is expected to decide whether to criminally charge Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey in the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake. Sheskey, who is white, shot Blake, who is Black, seven times in the back as Blake walked away from officers. Blake is now paralyzed.

Anticipating possible unrest, Kenosha announced plans for measures it could take when the decision comes, in order "to protect peaceful demonstration and to guard against unlawful activity." Among the possible precautions: a designated space for demonstrations, a curfew, road closures and limits on city bus routes, and protective fencing.

Protesters took to the streets of Kenosha in the wake of Blake's shooting. Amid protests on the night of Aug. 25, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot three men: Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum were killed, while Gaige Grosskreutz was seriously wounded.

Grosskreutz and the family of Huber have now each filed claim notices of $10 million against the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department, the Associated Press reports – a step that is typically a precursor to a lawsuit against local government.

"We believe there was some level of negligence on behalf of the city and county," Grosskreutz's attorney Kimberley Motley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She said the claim notices included less detail than is typical because the plaintiffs don't wish to interfere in the prosecution of Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse is out on $2 million bail — much of which was donated by conservative activists — as he awaits trial on charges including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Last week, prosecutors added another charge, the Journal Sentinel reported: violation of curfew on the night of the shootings.

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