President Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday deployed almost 1,000 National Guard and over 200 federal law enforcement agents to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to help quell disturbances sparked by the Sunday shooting of Jacob Blake who was resisting police arrest.
It follows the fatal shooting of two people Tuesday and a large amount of property damage across the city as riots and demonstrations enter their fourth night.
“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.”
“We have assisted Wisconsin in the deployment of almost 1,000 National Guard,” she added.
The Justice Department said separately that it had deployed more than 200 law enforcement agents to the city, including FBI and U.S. Marshals.
Trump has been pushing Democratic governors to request National Guard and federal law enforcement support to deal with unrest that has followed the police-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
Lawmakers representing Wisconsin had urged Gov. Tony Evers to accept the assistance, which he had refused on Tuesday after increasing the number of soldiers from 125 to 250. Trump and Evers reportedly spoke on Wednesday evening.
…TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2020
”We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets,” Trump tweeted. “My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance. Portland should do the same!”
“TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!” he added.
The unrest was triggered after a viral video appeared to show 29-year-old Blake, a black man, being shot at by police at close range. Police were responding to a domestic incident between Blake and his ex-girlfriend.
A criminal complaint obtained by The Epoch Times showed Blake was charged last month for trespassing, third-degree sexual assault, and disorderly conduct.
Blake was shot on Sunday after he escaped police attempts to restrain him with a stun gun and opened his car door. The shooting has left him paralyzed and “fighting for his life,” according to his family attorney.
The attorney said Tuesday that it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again, calling for the officers who opened fire to be arrested and others involved to lose their jobs.
The legal team plans to file a civil lawsuit against the police department over the shooting.
Police are forwarding all inquiries about the shooting to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which has launched an investigation in its Division of Criminal Investigation along with help from the FBI, the state patrol, and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office.
The division is aiming to provide investigative reports to a prosecutor within 30 days. The prosecutor would then decide whether to file charges or not.
The state Department of Justice said on Wednesday: “During the investigation following the initial incident, Mr. Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession. DCI agents recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Mr. Blake’s vehicle. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.”
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said on Twitter that extra agents sent to Wisconsin aimed to “assist state and local law enforcement in the response to rioting and unrest and will continue to surge Kenosha with federal resources as needed and necessary.”
Zachary Stieber and Reuters contributed to this report.