Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has declared a state of emergency in the midst of ongoing protests across the state following the police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha over the weekend.
The executive order, issued Tuesday afternoon, will direct state agencies to "continue assisting the state response."
Evers had already increased the presence of the Wisconsin National Guard earlier Tuesday.
“We cannot forget the reason why these protests began, and what we have seen play out over the last two nights and many nights this year is the pain, anguish, and exhaustion of being Black in our state and country," Evers said in a statement. "But as I said [Monday], and as I’ll reiterate today, everyone should be able to exercise their fundamental right—whether a protester or member of the press—peacefully and safely. We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction. We are assessing the damage to state property and will be increasing the presence of the Wisconsin National Guard to ensure individuals can exercise their right safely, protect state buildings and critical infrastructure, and support first responders and fire fighters."
Anger over the shooting of Jacob Blake spilled into the streets of Kenosha for a second night Monday, with police again firing tear gas at hundreds of protesters who defied a curfew, threw bottles and shot fireworks at law enforcement guarding the courthouse.
Police first fired tear gas Monday about 30 minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew took effect to disperse protesters who chanted, “No justice, no peace” as they confronted a line of officers who wore protective gear and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance. But hundreds of people stuck around, screaming at police and lighting fires, including to a garbage truck near the courthouse.
Evers first activated the National Guard Monday with “limited mobilization."
Curfews have also been in place in Kenosha for two consecutive nights.
Video posted on social media appears to show three officers shouting and pointing their weapons at the man, identified as Jacob Blake, as he walked around the front of a parked vehicle. When he opened the door and leaned inside, an officer grabbed his shirt and then fired into the car.
At least seven shots can be heard on the graphic video.
The man was immediately rushed to the hospital, and violent unrest followed, with vehicles set ablaze in multiple locations and windows smashed at businesses in downtown Kenosha. An overnight curfew was announced, and tear gas was used to disperse individuals still on city streets early Monday morning.
The case has garnered national attention, with political leaders calling for a full investigation of the incident.
"Tonight, and in the days ahead, if you are going to protest, please do so peacefully and safely," Evers said Tuesday. "Please do not allow the actions of a few distract us from the work we must do together to demand justice, equity, and accountability.”