State Watch

Wisconsin governor increases National Guard presence after second night of unrest over police shooting

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) will increase the National Guard presence in Kenosha, Wis., after the second night of unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man.

Evers called for an end to systemic racism and injustice in a statement but condemned the violence involved with the protests in Kenosha following video that circulated online showing police shooting Blake multiple times.

The governor requested that protesters, who continue to gather, demonstrate “peacefully and safely.” 

“We are assessing the damage to state property and will be increasing the presence of the Wisconsin National Guard to ensure individuals can exercise their right safely, protect state buildings and critical infrastructure, and support first responders and fire fighters,” he tweeted.

“Tonight, and in the days ahead, if you are going to protest, please do so peacefully and safely,” he added. “Please do not allow the actions of a few distract us from the work we must do together to demand justice, equity, and accountability.”

Evers called the First Amendment “critically important” but said “there remains a line between peaceful assembly and what we saw last night that puts individuals, families, and businesses in danger.”

“We cannot forget the reason why these protests began, and what we have seen play out over the last two nights and many nights this year is the pain, anguish, and exhaustion of being Black in our state and country,” he said.

He added: “We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction.”

The governor first activated the National Guard on Monday to respond to protests a day after 29-year-old Blake was shot by an officer as he leaned into his car that held his three children. Blake’s father told the Chicago Sun-Times that the incident paralyzed his son from the waist down.

Raysean White, who filmed the incident, said he heard a commotion involving Blake and three officers and heard an officer say “Drop the knife!” before the gunshots. But White said he didn’t see Blake holding a knife.

Protests first broke out on Sunday night and continued Monday night as hundreds of demonstrators violated the citywide curfew, prompting police to fire tear gas at the crowd. The protesters confronted police and set several fires, The Associated Press reported

The demonstrations come amid a summer of protests against racial injustice after the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis in May. 

Tags demonstrations Jacob Blake kenosha Kenosha protests Police police brutality Police shootings Protests systemic racism Tony Evers Wisconsin Wisconsin National Guard

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