The National Guard will send troops from three additional states, Arizona, Alabama and Michigan, to Kenosha to assist with operations there, officials said Thursday.
Gov. Tony Evers had already authorized the deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard to Kenosha. Evers declared a state of emergency Tuesday and enforced an overnight curfew lasting until Sunday.
On Thursday it was announced that additional agents had been summoned from Arizona, Michigan and Alabama following Tuesday night’s violence in which two men, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, were shot dead. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested on Wednesday at his home in Antioch, Illinois, accused of killing the protesters following riots over the shooting of Jacob Blake.
‘They will be here and hopefully be assisting us as early as tomorrow night in some cases’, the head of Wisconsin’s National Guard Major General Paul Knapp told a news conference.
In Washington, the Justice Department said it was sending in more than 200 federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The White House said up to 2,000 National Guard troops would be made available.
The Justice Department also announced that the U.S. attorney’s office and FBI would conduct a civil rights investigation into the shooting of Blake, in cooperation with Wisconsin state law enforcement agencies.
Groups that had taken to Kenosha’s streets with long guns were nowhere to be seen early Thursday following somber protests and no widespread unrest for the first night since the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Marchers were solemn during Wednesday night’s protests in the southeastern Wisconsin city between Milwaukee and Chicago following the chaos of the previous night, when authorities say a 17-year-old from a nearby Illinois community killed two demonstrators and wounded a third in shootings largely caught on cellphone video and posted online.
The attack late Tuesday and the shooting by police Sunday of Blake, a 29-year-old Black father of six who was left paralyzed from the waist down, made Kenosha the latest focal point in the fight against racial injustice that has gripped the country since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
There were no groups patrolling Kenosha’s streets with long guns Wednesday night as there had been during previous nights’ protests.
Protesters also stayed away from a courthouse that had been the site of standoffs with law enforcement. Unlike the previous two nights, when dozens of fires were set and businesses were ransacked and destroyed, there was no widespread unrest.
Protesters marched past the intersection where two people were killed Tuesday night, stopping to gather around the spot where one person was shot, and to pray and lay flowers. Daijon Spann said he decided to join the demonstration because one of those killed the night before was a friend.
‘I couldn’t take it any more,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t just sit there and watch my friend die.’
While the investigation into the shooting of Blake proceeded on one track, Kenosha police faced questions about their interactions with the gunman the night of the killings.
According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air as members of the crowd were yelling for him to be arrested because he had shot people.
As for how the gunman managed to slip away, Sheriff David Beth described a chaotic, high-stress scene, with lots of radio traffic and people screaming, chanting and running — conditions he said can cause ‘tunnel vision’ among law officers.
Much of Rittenhouse’s Facebook page is devoted to praising law enforcement, with references to Blue Lives Matter, a movement that supports police. In photos posted on his page, which has since been locked down, he also can be seen holding an assault rifle.
In a photo posted on his mother’s page, he is wearing what appears to be a blue law enforcement uniform as well as the kind of brimmed hat that state troopers wear.
Blake was shot in the back seven times Sunday as he leaned into his SUV, in which three of his children were seated.
On Wednesday — three days after the shooting — state authorities identified the officer who shot Blake as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department.
Authorities said Sheskey was among officers who responded to a domestic dispute, though they have not said whether Blake was part of the dispute.
Sheskey shot Blake while holding onto his shirt after officers first unsuccessfully used a Taser, the Wisconsin Justice Department said. State agents later recovered a knife from the floor on the driver’s side of the vehicle, the department said. State authorities did not say Blake threatened anyone with the knife.
Ben Crump, the lawyer for Blake’s family, said Tuesday that it would ‘take a miracle’ for Blake to walk again. He called for the arrest of Sheskey and for the others involved to lose their jobs. State officials have announced no charges.