Ahead of an anticipated court decision in the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake, Gov. Tony Evers has authorized 500 Wisconsin National Guard members to assist local law enforcement in Kenosha to stem potential violence.
Evers authorized the National Guard assistance at the request of local authorities.
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.
According to a statement, National Guard members may not be used to block people from peacefully protesting or the media from covering the situation.
“We are continuing to work with our local partners in the Kenosha area to ensure they have the state support they need, just as we have in the past,” Evers said. “Our members of the National Guard will be on hand to support local first responders, ensure Kenoshans are able to assemble safely, and to protect critical infrastructure as necessary.”
Kenosha city workers put the finishing touches on protective fencing around the Court House by mid-morning. Several side streets are closed to through traffic, and motorists cannot travel Sheridan Road, which has been blocked off.
Several businesses around the downtown Kenosha area also had workers putting boards back up to protect their buildings.
Early Monday morning, a number of streets near the Court House were closed to through traffic. Motorists will not be able to travel Sheridan Road from 52nd to 59th streets, and east/west traffic from 53rd to 59th streets also is blocked by concrete barricades in both directions.
All the activity comes hours before the Kenosha City Council is expected Monday night to vote on an “emergency declaration” resolution that would give Mayor John Antaramian temporary powers for eight days from the announcement on possible charges by District Attorney Michael Graveley.
Antaramian and Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis stated in a press release Sunday they expect the announcement within the first two weeks of January.
The Kenosha News contributed to this report.
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