Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order activating up to 1,000 members of the National Guard to help cities and towns in the event of large scale events, administration officials said Thursday.
Sources told MassLive the activation came as protests are being planned across Massachusetts after the Breonna Taylor grand jury decision.
It’s the second activation order in as many months. Baker activated the Guardsmen at the end of August to help cities and towns and maintain public safety, then ended the order amid questions over its purpose.
“Governor Baker today signed an order activating up to 1,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard in the event that municipal leaders require assistance to protect opportunities to exercise first amendment rights and to maintain public safety during large scale events,” Jake Wark, a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, said in a statement. “National Guard personnel are deployed only at the request of, and in coordination with, the communities seeking support.”
When asked for further clarification on the order, Wark deferred to the statement and declined to comment further.
Baker activated about 2,000 guard members for COVID-19 testing, delivering food and securing medical facilities during the height of the coronavirus pandemic back in March.
The activation order comes amid mounting unrest and protests a day after a Kentucky grand jury indicted a former Louisville police officer for shooting into Taylor’s neighboring apartment but did not move forward with charges against any officers for Taylor’s death.
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