Democratic Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin announced on Friday that hundreds of National Guard troops will be active near Kenosha next week as the city, state and country await a verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case.
“Approximately 500 Wisconsin Army National Guard troops are reporting for State Active Duty as authorized by Gov. Tony Evers to support local partners in ensuring public safety in conjunction with hundreds of officers from volunteering law enforcement agencies,” the governor’s office said in a news release.
The governor said in a statement that he is hopeful that the situation in the city remains peaceful, and he asked for the public’s assistance with that.
“We continue to be in close contact with our partners at the local level to ensure the state provides support and resources to help keep the Kenosha community and greater area safe,” said Evers.
“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,” added the governor. ‘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.”
“We stand ready to support our communities during times of need,” said Knapp. “In close coordination with the governor, we have assembled approximately 500 Soldiers to help keep the Kenosha community safe, should a request from our local partners come in.”
Guard troops will be posted on standby status, and will only be called into areas of unrest if requested by local officers, should the verdict cause any unrest.
Evers’ office said the governor deemed calling in the Guard “necessary to support local law enforcement and first responders in Kenosha.”
“As has been the case under previous missions, 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,” Evers’ office said.
“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,” the news release concluded.
The jury in the Rittenhouse homicide case is expected to begin deliberations on Monday following a two-week trial that saw the teen take the stand in his own defense.
The defense rested on Thursday, and Judge Bruce Schroeder will instruct jurors and alternates after the weekend.
Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree reckless intentional homicide in the shooting death of Joseph Rosenbaum, first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting death of Anthony Huber and first-degree attempted intentional homicide for shooting Gaige Grosskreutz.
The charge resulting from the death of Huber carries a mandatory life sentence if the teen is convicted.
Rittenhouse also faces several other less severe charges. One charge, a curfew violation charge, was dismissed by Schroeder this past week.
Rittenhouse has said he shot the three men in self-defense.
The prosecution at times struggled to keep favor with Schroeder throughout the trial. A consensus among legal experts has signaled that the state of Wisconsin might have difficulty getting jurors to convict the teen.
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