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WI Gov. bringing in Nat’l Guard troops Mon. night amid new riots after police shooting

Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers serving with Detachment 1, Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Multi-Component Unit, listen to remarks from senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders Feb. 25, 2016 at Fort Campbell, Ky. (Wisconsin National Guard photo by Capt. Joe Trovato)
August 24, 2020

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday ordered units of the Wisconsin National Guard to respond to civil unrest in Kenosha County, following an officer-involved shooting incident on Sunday night.

The Wisconsin  Guard said in a press statement Monday, “Gov. Tony Evers today, at the request of local officials, authorized the Wisconsin Guard to support local law enforcement in Kenosha County to help protect critical infrastructure and assist in maintaining public safety and the ability of individuals to peacefully protest.”

The guard deployment comes after an incident in which Kenosha Police Department (KPD) officers shot a Black man, Jacob Blake. Video of the incident showed officers, with their guns drawn, ordering Blake to comply with their demands before he begins walking away. Officers followed Blake, with their guns drawn, around the side of a parked vehicle before Blake opened the vehicle door and began reaching inside. It was at that moment that officers fired at least seven times at Blake’s back.

“This just happend in Kenosha, WI. 💔#BlackLivesMatter,” a Twitter user posted with video of the incident.

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KPD officers reportedly rendered first aid to Blake, who was hospitalized and is alive.

Following the Sunday incident, Evers tweeted, “Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries.”

“While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country,” Evers’ tweets continued.

In a statement accompanying the Wisonsin Guard announcement Monday, Evers said, “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. 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.”

Protests and rioting have followed the Sunday shooting incident.

“Officers in riot gear are out in force in Kenosha, Wisconsin after a black man was shot in the back seven times by police,” SkyNews tweeted Monday, with video of rioting Sunday night.

Fires were also set to vehicles outside the Kenosha County Courthouse Sunday.

On Monday, KPD issued a statement declaring a state of emergency and instituting a curfew, effective at 8 p.m.

“Kenosha County has again declared a state of Emergency Curfew for 8:00 PM tonight August 24th East of I-94. The public needs to be off the streets for their safety. The curfew will be enforced until 7:00 AM,” KPD tweeted.

The National Guard statement reads, “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.”