It’s been two years since Gaige Grosskreutz became linked to the deadly actions of a former homicide suspect, Kyle Rittenhouse, and he says he can’t shake them.
This week, Grosskreutz filed a secret petition to change his legal name — which was quickly reported by conservative media, prompting his call for an investigation into the leaks by the Milwaukee County Clerk.
Grosskreutz, 29, of West Allis, was shot in the arm by Rittenhouse on Sheridan Road in Kenosha on August 25, 2020, minutes after Rittenhouse shot and killed two other men with the same AR-15-style rifle. The violence came on the third night of protests, looting and arson following the police shooting of Jacob Blake Jr.
Rittenhouse was charged with two counts of homicide and the reckless wounding of Grosskreutz, which testified at the Rittenhouse trial in November 2021. He told jurors he thought he was going to die when Rittenhouse pointed his gun at him.
But the gun jammed and as Rittenhouse put the gun back, Grosskreutz decided to jump on Rittenhouse, rather than shoot him with Grosskreutz’s handgun, which he was holding.
Grosskreutz said he came to Kenosha alone that night from West Allis to provide assistance to protesters. A trained paramedic, Grosskreutz said he has been going to protests to do so all summer.
The jury acquitted Rittenhouse of all charges after shooting the three men in self-defense.
Gaige Grosskreutz requested confidentiality for her name change
Online court records show a “confidential name change” was filed under seal by Grosskreutz on Tuesday. It was first reported by Kenosha County Eye.
Grosskreutz’s lawyer, Kimberly Motleysaid neither she nor her client would speak about the name change petition.
She complained that someone had to disclose her existence to Kenosha County Eye, the outlet run by Kevin Mathewson, himself a key figure in the Kenosha unrest.
Mathewson is a former Kenosha councilman who called for armed people to come out and defend the city in a post on a Facebook account called The Kenosha Guard. Mathewson later covered Rittenhouse’s trial as a freelance photographer and got into a public shouting match with one of the prosecutors at one point.
“Yes, after two years of death threats from right-wing crazies, I have made the difficult decision to change my name for the protection of myself and my family,” Grosskreutz said in a statement via of his lawyer.
“But the real story here is not that I am seeking a name change, but that a process that was supposed to protect and protect those at risk was undermined and sealed information leaked to right-wing media within hours. followed my deposit.
“I have been told that my file is confidential. I demand that the court investigate how this was disclosed to ensure that those seeking protection in the future receive the protection to which they are entitled. On Tuesday, I was denied that protection,” Grosskreutz said. said.
Motley requested records of who in the Clerk of Courts Office had access to the motion between the time it was filed, around 3:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m., when Motley believes Mathewson was made aware of the filing. She also requested emails listing relevant names, case number or other terms.
Clerk of the Courts George Christenson did not immediately return an email requesting information about the case on Thursday.
What does Wisconsin law say about a name change?
Wisconsin law allows anyone to request that such a change not require the usual publication notice and avoid the case appearing in the state’s online court records system, under certain terms.
The law also states: “The court may require the petitioner to comply (with public notice) if he is unable to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the publication of his petition could put him in danger and that he or she is not seeking a name change to avoid debt or conceal a criminal record.”
Grosskreutz was convicted of carrying a weapon while intoxicated in 2016, a misdemeanor.
There were 17 confidential name change petitions in 2020, compared to 440 public requests, according to the Milwaukee County Clerk’s Office. Most of the confidential motions were filed in a domestic violence case.
Previous years have seen similar numbers or requests for secret modifications, and around 550 normal requests.
In 2021, Grosskreutz was charged with drunk driving for the second offense, a charge later dismissed by prosecutors. This court filing indicates that his home address was sealed from the public by the judge.