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City of Kenosha OK's emergency authority for mayor ahead of Blake charging decision

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Posted at 8:29 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 23:21:06-05

CITY OF KENOSHA — City of Kenosha's Common Council voted in favor of giving Mayor John Antaramian emergency authority, set to kick in once a charging decision is made regarding the police officer accused of shooting Jacob Blake last summer.

During a Monday night meeting, alders voted in favor of the "declaration of authority" resolution proposed by the mayor. The emergency authority now given to the mayor allows him broad, and as of yet unspecific, authority to act to stop civil unrest following the controversial decision. That includes the possibility of a curfew, like the city enforced following the shooting of Blake on Aug. 23.

The authority also could be used by the mayor to close public areas like streets and parks, various buildings and direct emergency responses. During the meeting Monday, Antaramian said that he will determine his use of emergency authority, if need be, in consultation with the police department as well as other legal advisors.

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The resolution is enacted as soon as Kenosha County District Attorney, Michael D. Graveley, announces his charging decision. The resolution requires the mayor to return to the Common Council eight days following the enactment, to decide if he needs to continue possessing emergency authority.

If the charging decision does not come beyond the second full week of Jan. 16, the resolution will not go into effect.

The resolution comes ahead of DA Graveley's announcement whether his office will charge Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey in the shooting of Blake. That decision is expected within the first two weeks of January, according to officials, and could come as early as this Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Gov. Tony Evers has mobilized 500 members of the National Guard to Kenosha. The City of Kenosha has also announced road closures ahead of the charging decision.

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