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Plaintiffs drop federal suit in Kyle Rittenhouse case
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Civil unrest litigation

Plaintiffs drop federal suit in Kyle Rittenhouse case

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The plaintiffs in a civil suit filed against Kyle Rittenhouse, Facebook and the Kenosha Guard dropped their suit this week.

Rittenhouse, 18, of Antioch, Ill., is accused of killing two men and severely injuring a third during the August protests that occurred in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer. He has pleaded not guilty, arguing that he fired in self-defense.

The suit, filed in September, had sought to use Reconstruction-era federal law inspired by the rise of the Ku Klux Klan to seek damages from: Rittenhouse; the Kenosha Guard militia and its “commander” Kevin Mathewson; the Boogaloo Bois, a far-right, antigovernmental organization; and a West Bend man who identified himself to the media as a member of the Boogaloo Bois and said he was in Kenosha during the August protests.

The suit alleged that Facebook was negligent in allowing Mathewson and the Kenosha Guard to put out a call for militia members to come to the city, and alleged that the defendants had conspired to violate their civil rights.

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Plaintiffs in the suit included Hannah Gittings, the girlfriend of Silver Lake resident Anthony Huber, one of two men killed in the Rittenhouse shootings on Aug. 25. Also named as plaintiffs were three people who were at the protests who said they were harassed and threatened by militia members.

No explanation provided

Jason Flores-Williams, the attorney for the plaintiffs, filed a notice of dismissal with prejudice this week. Being dismissed with prejudice means it was dismissed permanently and will not be refiled. The notice does not give an explanation for withdrawing the suit. “In concluding the case we have agreed to no comment,” Flores-Williams said in an email.

Earlier, Flores-Williams and the attorney he originally worked with on the suit had a public spat over the case, with attorney Jennifer Sirrine withdrawing. In her motion to withdraw, Sirrine accused Flores-Williams of harassing and underpaying her. In that filing, Sirrine wrote that Gittings and another of the plaintiffs emailed her saying they wanted to end their attorney-client relationship due to “broken trust.”

Other possible suits in the Rittenhouse case are still pending. Earlier this month, attorneys for Huber’s family and Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, who was seriously injured in the shootings, filed notices of claim indicating they will sue the City of Kenosha and Kenosha County, alleging that law enforcement negligence contributed to the shootings.

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