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Evers authorizes 500 Wis. Army National Guard troops to head to Kenosha

Protesters ran after tear gas was thrown near a crowd Tuesday night in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Protesters ran after tear gas was thrown near a crowd Tuesday night in Kenosha, Wisconsin.(Source: CNN)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 2:31 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2021 at 3:16 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Governor Tony Evers has authorized 500 Wisconsin Army National Guard troops Friday to head to Kenosha to ensure public safety in the city.

The troops reporting for State Active Duty will support local law enforcement agencies. Evers noted hundreds of officers from local volunteering law enforcement agencies have also agreed to help.

The governor did not state why he was sending the Army National Guard troops to the city, but said he wanted to ensure the state provides the resources to “keep the Kenosha community and greater area safe.”

The defense rested its case Thursday at the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing two men and wounding a third during the unrest that erupted in Kenosha last year from the wounding of Jacob Blake. This sets the stage for closing arguments Monday, the judge indicated.

“The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing,” Evers said. “I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully.”

The National Guard troops will stage outside of the city as a standby to respond if local law enforcement request their help.

“We stand ready to support our communities during times of need,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general.

Gov. Evers noted the National Guard may not be used to prevent people from protesting peacefully, nor impede news agencies’ ability to report the events.

Wisconsin’s Emergency Operations Center told NBC15 it is on standby if a request for additional state assistance is requested. Wisconsin Emergency Management staff are working with state and local partners currently.

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