Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Aug. 27 authorized the deployment of two companies of the Michigan National Guard to Kenosha, Wisconsin, upon request by Gov. Tony Evers, to quell unrest amid ongoing riots in the city.
Whitmer said they will “support public safety” and “protect First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly” in Kenosha.
The two companies of Michigan National Guardsmen and women will operate under State Active Duty through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact, she said Thursday. This means that they have not been federalized and they can be recalled to Michigan at any time by Whitmer.
“Michigan’s dedicated National Guardsmen and women have played a vital role to keep Michiganders safe in recent months during the pandemic, and they were a key factor in ensuring peaceful protests in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Lansing after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor earlier this summer,” Whitmer said in a news release.
“Following a request from Governor Evers, I have authorized the use of two companies of the Michigan National Guard to assist civil authorities with public safety. I am confident that our guardsmen and women will work hard to keep our neighbors in Wisconsin safe while working to protect their First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly.”
Unrest in the Wisconsin city was sparked by the Sunday shooting of Jacob Blake who was resisting police arrest.
Blake escaped police attempts to restrain him with a stun gun after which he went to his car and opened the car door. The 29-year-old was then shot by police who were responding to a domestic incident between Blake and his ex-girlfriend.
Blake admitted to having a knife in his possession at the time, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. A lawyer for Blake didn’t respond to an inquiry on the matter.
The shooting has left him paralyzed and “fighting for his life,” according to his family attorney.
The officers involved were placed on administrative leave and the matter is being probed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
A criminal complaint obtained by The Epoch Times showed Blake was charged last month for trespassing, third-degree sexual assault, and disorderly conduct.
“The Michigan National Guard is always ready to support civil authorities when requested to assist,” Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said in a news release Thursday.
“The men and women of the Michigan National Guard are well trained, equipped, and ready to assist our neighbors and emergency response partners in Wisconsin to protect people, their property, and their right to peacefully protest.”
President Donald Trump on Wednesday deployed almost 1,000 National Guard and over 200 federal law enforcement agents, including FBI and U.S. Marshals, to the city.
“President Trump condemns violence in all forms and believes we must protect all Americans from chaos and lawlessness,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. “This is why he is encouraging Democrat Governors to request the National Guard and federal law enforcement to augment their local law enforcement efforts.”
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.