KENOSHA — Gov. Tony Evers was in Kenosha on Thursday, for the first time since the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of a Kenosha police officer.
He was there to tour the damage and speak to the community. The same day, he requested other states to send National Guard to Kenosha.
In his visit to Kenosha, Evers said, “The thing that gives me extraordinary hope are the thousands of Kenosha residents who are volunteering as we speak,” citing grass roots community clean up.
“When this is over, the people of Kenosha are ready to make life better and they’re already beginning that process, so I feel very confident about where we’re going. That confidence doesn’t come from Madison or Washington, D.C., it comes from the great people [of Kenosha]. They’re ready to roll up their sleeves … I couldn’t be more proud of that effort on their part. ”
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes talked about the pain of the Kenosha community.
“People … are protesting against systemic justice ... and engaging … in much needed dialog, not only in Kenosha, but communities all across the country,” Barnes said, calling for political, community and religious leaders to “come together and rebuild broken systems,” citing his belief in “a better Wisconsin.”
“It is out of some of the most devastating circumstances that we can see communities being build more wholistically and more inclusively…,” Barnes said. “DCI’s investigation is ongoing, but we don’t need an investigation to know that Blake’s shooting falls in a long and painful pattern of violence … against black lives all across this country.”
Major General Paul Knapp of the Wisconsin National Guard, also spoke regarding the guard’s presence in Kenosha.
“We’re here to preserve public safety,” he said, noting Wisconsin National Guard troops in Kenosha would be augmented by National Guard troops being brought in from Michigan, Alabama and Arizona under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact with a mission of “keeping the peace and keeping public safety” and preserving Kenosha as “a wonderful place to come.”
Evers also on Thursday requested other states, under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), to bring additional National Guard troops, equipment, and resources to Kenosha to support civil authorities there.
EMAC is a mutual aid agreement that allows governors to provide state-to-state assistance during declared states of emergency. It will enable other states to provide resources such as National Guard troops and equipment to the requesting state.
National Guard troops from Arizona, Michigan and Alabama will add to Wisconsin National Guard troops already on the ground supporting civil authorities in Kenosha under the EMAC.
Any National Guard troops from other states mobilized to support Wisconsin would do so in a State Active Duty status – not in a federal status. Those troops would fall under the operational control of Wisconsin’s adjutant general during their mobilization, but remain under their respective State’s administrative control.
Wisconsin National Guard troops have been on duty in Kenosha since August 24 when authorities in Kenosha made an initial request for Guard assistance. In the ensuing days, local officials in Kenosha made subsequent requests for additional Wisconsin National Guard assistance, resulting in more troops supporting public safety efforts in the city each day. Troop numbers will continue to be adjusted as needed.
Local officials are leading the response in Kenosha, and National Guard troops are serving in a support role to assist civil authorities in preserving public safety and individuals’ ability to exercise their First Amendment rights to assemble peaceably.
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