(Headline USA) Activists unexpectedly abandoned a federal lawsuit that sought to force Facebook to block militias and other right-leaning anti-government groups from using the site.
The suit targeted several of the groups involved in clashes in Wisconsin after violent race riots overtook the city of Kenosha last summer. The militia groups used the platform to draw armed people to defend businesses and residents amid the violent anti-police protests.
The attorney for the four plaintiffs, Jason Flores-Williams, filed a notice of dismissal in the case on Tuesday, the Kenosha News reported Friday.
The notice gave no explanation for withdrawing the action, and Flores-Williams declined the newspaper’s request for comment.
The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in September against Facebook, the Kenosha Guard militia and its leader, Kevin Mathewson; the anti-government Boogaloo Bois; and Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 18-year-old from Illinois accused of killing two people and wounding a third during unrest in August in Kenosha. Rittenhouse has argued he acted in self-defense.
According to the lawsuit, the Kenosha Guard put out a call on its Facebook page for armed people to guard property in the city, which sits along Lake Michigan between Milwaukee and Chicago. Among those who took up the call was Rittenhouse, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs argued their interactions with militia members during the protests left them traumatized.
The group included Hannah Gittings, the girlfriend of Anthony Huber, one of the men Rittenhouse killed. The other plaintiffs said militia members harassed and assaulted them.
The demonstrations began after Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Jacob Blake while responding to a domestic dispute, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Prosecutors earlier this month said they would not charge Sheskey, noting Blake had resisted arrest and was carrying a knife.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press