KENOSHA, Wis. - President Donald Trump announced Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 26 Governor Tony Evers has agreed to accept federal assistance after a deadly night of protests in Kenosha.
Two people were shot to death during a night of anti-racism protests in Kenosha in a possible vigilante attack carried out apparently by a young white man who was caught on cellphone video opening fire in the middle of the street with a semi-automatic rifle. A 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois was arrested on homicide charges.
The gunfire erupted late Tuesday, just before midnight, during the third straight night of unrest in Kenosha over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, on Sunday.
Shooting on third night of protests in Kenosha
Governor Evers issued a statement Wednesday authorizing 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard "to support local law enforcement in Kenosha County" Wednesday evening:
"The governor is continuing to work with other states in facilitating additional National Guard and state patrol support.
"On Monday, at the request of local officials, the governor announced he authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to help protect critical infrastructure and assist in maintaining public safety and the ability of individuals to peacefully protest in Kenosha County. On Tuesday, in addition to declaring a state of emergency, Gov. Evers authorized increasing Wisconsin National Guard support for Kenosha County to 250 members.
"Pursuant to Section 321.39(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes, the governor ordered into state active duty members of the Wisconsin National Guard deemed necessary to support to local law enforcement and first responders in Kenosha. Any Guard members called to active duty may only be used to provide support to local law enforcement and to protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions necessary for the well-being of the community, and to provide support to first responders such as the Kenosha Fire Department. The Wisconsin National Guard may not be used to impede the ability of people to peacefully protest or impede the ability of the media to report on this situation."
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rep. Bryan Steil (WI-1) issued this statement:
“It is a tragedy that two people had to lose their lives before Gov. Evers was willing to set aside politics and accept President Trump’s help to restore order in Kenosha. Violence and chaos like we’ve seen the last three nights do nothing to advance justice, and they drown out the voices of those protesting peacefully. Going forward, our focus should be on healing – for Jacob Blake, for the lives turned upside down in the rioting, and for the community of Kenosha.”
Earlier Tuesday, Evers turned down a White House offer to dispatch additional National Guard troops to the city of Kenosha after two nights of rioting that followed the police shooting of a Black man, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told "Tucker Carlson Tonight.
"The president was on the phone with the governor today ... we have National Guard standing by, and if the general for the National Guard [in Kenosha] needs additional help, we're there to do it, but today, that request was denied by the governor," Meadows told host Tucker Carlson Tuesday.
An Evers' spokesperson said this Wednesday afternoon: "Gov. Evers has been working with several state partners to get additional National Guard and state patrol support. I can confirm the governor spoke with Mark Meadows this morning. The federal government is planning to assist in facilitating conversations with other state partners and provide FBI support to our state response."
Third night of unrest in Kenosha
After Tucker Carlson posited Tuesday night that Evers "clearly wants riots," the former North Carolina congressman answered: "It is out of control and it can't be allowed to continue."
"I got a call today from [Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis.,] who represents that district, and from Senator [Ron] Johnson as well, really just pleading for help, saying that the local sheriff and the mayor and police chief need some additional assistance," Meadows explained Tuesday. "I got on the phone right away and offered assistance in the form of additional National Guard help."
Meadows went on to say that many Democratic governors are "ignoring the problem" of mob violence in major cities, so authorities must have enough resources to stem the criminality on their own.
"You do not have a First Amendment right to loot and riot," he said.
Meadows said that an additional roadblock to stopping the violence is the fact that in Democratic precincts, prosecutors like Multnomah County, Ore., District Attorney Mike Schmidt won't thoroughly prosecute riot cases, which helps the wrongdoers to get back to committing criminal acts as soon as the following day.
City vehicles set on fire in Kenosha
Racine and Kenosha area legislators released the below statement "after Governor Evers finally accepted federal assistance from President Trump to help law enforcement in Kenosha:"
“After three nights of uncontrollable riots and tragic deaths, our communities welcome the federal assistance and additional National Guard members to help local authorities take back our streets and allow for peaceful protests. It is sad that it has taken this long for the governor to seek out the necessary help. Even during the most contentious times, the safety of our citizens is paramount and should always come before politics. No one should live in fear inside their own homes or worry if their business will go up in flames.
“We continue to stand ready to work with national, state and local officials to ensure that our area receives the assistance and resources it needs moving forward.”
In the meantime, on the second night of the Republican National Convention Tuesday, the opening prayer called for healing for Jacob Blake and his family, and for those who put themselves in harm's way.
On Wednesday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he spoke with Jacob Blake's mother, father and sister, and said the violence has to stop.