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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is deploying 500 National Guard troops to Kenosha in anticipation of unrest as prosecutors announce whether there will be charges in the shooting of Jacob Blake.
City workers on Monday finished installing security fencing around the Kenosha Courthouse and cops closed off side streets in anticipation of protests, Kenosha News said.
City police said in a statement Sunday that the measures were among the “planned precautionary efforts to ensure safety.”
County officials also offered to assist the city if necessary, Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser said in a statement Monday.
“The city of Kenosha is guiding all efforts in this response,” Kreuser said.
“We are here to assist them. Obviously, the safety of Kenosha County residents and also our employees is paramount. We join them with the Blake family in continuing to call for calm and peaceful demonstrations,” he said.
The moves come as the Kenosha City Council is scheduled to vote late Monday on an emergency declaration that would give Mayor John Antaramian wider powers to help establish order in the city of 100,000.
Blake, who is black, was left paralyzed after he was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha cop Rusten Sheskey during a domestic disturbance on Aug. 23.
The shooting made the city one of the hot spots of global Black Lives Matter protests that erupted after the police shooting deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
County District Attorney Michael Graveley has said that his office will announce whether to seek criminal charges against Sheskey over the next two weeks, KARE-TV reported.
In announcing the deployment of the National Guard, Evers said the troops will be on hand to back up local law enforcement if needed, KARE said.
“We are continuing to work with our local partners in the Kenosha area to ensure they have the state support they need, just as we have in the past,” he said in a statement.
“Our members of the National Guard will be on hand to support local first responders, ensure Kenoshans are able to assemble safely and to protect critical infrastructure if necessary,” the governor said.
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