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Gov. Evers sends National Guard to Kenosha in anticipation of Blake shooting decision

A decision whether to charge officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake is expected soon
Civil rights protesters march in Kenosha after the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake
Civil rights protesters march in Kenosha after the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 4:26 PM CST
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KENOSHA, Wis. (WBAY) - Gov. Tony Evers is accepting a request from Kenosha authorities to bring in the Wisconsin National Guard as a decision is expected soon whether to criminally charge police officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake.

About 500 troops mobilized this week to state active duty, the governor’s office says.

As we’ve reported, a police officer with a hold on Blake’s shirt fired 7 shots at point-blank range, paralyzing Blake. Officer Rusten Sheskey shot him as Blake opened the door to an SUV and leaned inside. The Black man had fought with white officers and was ignoring their orders to stop.

Sheskey and other officers on the scene have been on administrative leave since the August 23 shooting. The Kenosha County district attorney is expected to release his decision this month on whether their actions were criminal or justifiable.

Gov. Evers says the mission of the Wisconsin National Guard will be to support local law enforcement authorities to ensure public safety, ensure the right to assemble safely, “and to protect critical infrastructure as necessary.” The governor’s order notes that the National Guard cannot “impede the ability of people to peacefully protest.”

The shooting sparked civil rights protests in Kenosha and throughout the state. The Kenosha Post Office and County Courthouse are still boarded up from over the summer, but other business owners are optimistic that most protestors aren’t planning violence.

“The people that are trying to enact change in the city right now that are local are really doing a good job of saying what happened last time wasn’t us and we’re not going to stand for it,” said Anthony Perrine, a gas station owner.

Kenosha city officials are working out details for safety precautions when the decision is announced, including a designated demonstration space, road closures and curfews (see related story).

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