Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has mobilized the Wisconsin National Guard to help assist authorities in Kenosha ahead of an anticipated charging decision in the Aug. 2020 shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer.
In a press release, the Guard says that it will be mobilized to “state active duty” to help assist police in Kenosha in “preserving public safety” ahead of the expected decision in the Blake case.
Authorities in Kenosha have begun undertaking safety measures and restrictions ahead of the anticipated decision on whether to charge the officer in the case. That decision is expected to come within the next two weeks.
Safety efforts will include designation of a demonstration space, limitations on city bus routes, road closures, curfews and protective fencing, according to Mayor John Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis.
Activists are calling for non-violence ahead of the expected decision from Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley.
“We want everyone to come out and to be as loud as they want, but we don’t want destruction of property,” activist Tanya McLean said Monday. “We’re for non-violence. Anything else isn’t acceptable for this community.”
McLean and Blake’s father both criticized Evers’ decision to mobilize the National Guard, saying that their presence could “agitate” the situation and cause more issues than it solves.
“I believe that it may agitate people, their presence, because people have strong beliefs about the National Guard occupying their state,” McLean said.
Blake, who is Black, was shot in the back seven times on Aug. 23 after walking away from a white police officer and two others who were trying to arrest him. The officer, Rusten Sheskey, shot Blake after he opened an SUV’s driver-side door and leaned into the vehicle.
The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
Large protests and demonstrations were held in the days that followed the shooting, and vandals caused millions of dollars in damage to public and private property.
Sheskey and other officers involved in the shooting have been on administrative leave.