KENOSHA, Wis. (WFRV) – Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has announced that, at the request of local officials, the Wisconsin National Guard has been mobilized to support law enforcement in Kenosha.
The National Guard will help protect critical infrastructure and assist in maintaining public safety and the ability of individuals to peacefully protest.
“I know folks across our state will be making their voices heard in Kenosha and in communities across Wisconsin. Every person should be able to express their anger and frustration by exercising their First Amendment rights and report on these calls to action without any fear of being unsafe,” said Gov. Evers. “This is a limited mobilization of the National Guard focused on supporting the needs of local first responders to protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations, and to ensure Kenoshians are able to assemble safely.”
Pursuant to Section 321.39(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes, the governor ordered into state active duty members of the Wisconsin National Guard deemed necessary to support to local law enforcement and first responders in Kenosha. Any Guard members called to active duty may only be used to provide support to local law enforcement and to protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions necessary for the well-being of the community, and to provide support to first responders such as the Kenosha Fire Department. The National Guard may not be used to impede the ability of people to peacefully protest or impede the ability of the media to report on this situation.
“Serving our fellow Wisconsin citizens and assisting civil authorities during times of need is one of core missions in the National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general. “Our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen are well-trained and prepared to assist in any way we can in an effort to preserve public safety.”
The announcement comes after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot repeatedly by police officers in Kenosha on Sunday.
The shooting happened at around 5 p.m. Sunday and was captured on cellphone video that was posted online. In that clip, which was taken from across the street, Blake walks from the sidewalk around the front of his SUV to his driver-side door as officers follow him with their guns pointed and shout at him. As Blake opens the door and leans into the SUV, an officer grabs his shirt from behind and opens fire while Blake has his back turned.
The incident sparked unrest in Kenosha as protesters took to the streets in the city. Affiliate WDJT captured the below photos showing burned out garbage trucks, vandalized businesses, and authorities surrounding the Kenosha County Courthouse.
Gov. Evers signed an Executive Order calling a special session on policing accountability and transparency.
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian and Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser, together with other civic and religious leaders, are expected to participate in a press conference Monday afternoon.
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