KENOSHA — Gov. Tony Evers has authorized the Wisconsin National Guard in Kenosha ahead of a decision on whether charges will be filed against a police officer in the shooting of Jacob Blake.
In a statement, the governor said that local authorities requested the deployment. Rep. Bryan Steil, who represents the Kenosha area, wrote on Twitter Monday that he stands ready to call for assistance from state authorities.
Kenosha County District Attorney, Michael D. Graveley, is expected to announce whether his office will charge Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey in the Aug. 23 shooting. That decision is expected within the first two weeks of January, according to officials, and could come as early as this Tuesday.
“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,” Evers said in the 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 as necessary.”
About 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard are being mobilized this week in Kenosha.
Guard members called to active duty can only be used to support local law enforcement and to protect "critical infrastructure and cultural institutions," according to the governor's office. The National Guard may not be used to "impede the ability of people to peacefully protest or impede the ability of the media to report on this situation," according to the statement.
Meanwhile, the family of Jacob Blake is holding a press conference and march to call for charges against Officer Sheskey.
Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back while attempting to enter his vehicle near 40th and 28th streets. Officers had responded to the scene prior to the shooting on a "domestic incident."
The Wisconsin Department of Justice said Blake had later admitted to having a knife in his vehicle, but it was unclear if he was reaching it when he was attempting to enter his vehicle.
Sheskey, and several other officers, were placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
The shooting of Blake sparked protests and unrest in Kenosha and across the country last summer.