President Donald Trump said he is sending federal troops into Kenosha, Wisconsin after the state’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers acceded to the presence of such forces.
“We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!),” Trump wrote in a series of tweets early Wednesday afternoon. “TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!”
The move could further escalate tensions between Black Lives Matter protesters and law enforcement. Demonstrators have taken to the streets daily and nightly in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake over the weekend.
The viral video seen millions of times the world over showed at least one member of the Kenosha Police Department shooting the Black 29-year-old father of six in the back seven times. It happened as he attempted to get into his vehicle after he had just finished “breaking up a fight between two women,” according to his attorney Benjamin Crump.
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections building–used for parole and probation–was set ablaze and destroyed Monday night. Several small businesses were also left smoldering and in ruins. The overwhelming anger, frustration and public outrage over the police department’s treatment of Blake–an unarmed Black man very nearly killed and currently paralyzed due to his injuries–has not abated even as police attempted to institute and enforce an 8 p.m. curfew in response to the increasingly militant protests.
Multiple videos of the incident and alleged murderer were shared on social media. The suspect, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested and charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday. He is reportedly an outside agitator who does not live in Kenosha.
On Tuesday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Governor Evers had declined to call on federal troops.
“We have National Guard standing by, that if the general for the National Guard needs additional help, we’re there to do it,” Meadows said. “But today, that request was denied by the governor.”
Evers, it has been noted, first called in the National Guard on Monday.
[image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]
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