KENOSHA — As the end of the Rittenhouse trial nears, business owners in Kenosha say they want things to remain peaceful no matter what the outcome may be in hopes of not having to relive what the city went through last year.
It's a tough decision that some business owners in Kenosha may have to make; to board up their stores ahead of a verdict in the trial against Kyle Rittenhouse or leave them be.
"Do I have my boards? Yes, I do. Do I want to put them up? No, I don't. I'm not sure what's going to happen. All I'm going to do is stay positive," said Oliver's Bakery owner, Anne Benson.
The hesitancy ahead of the verdict comes more than a year after protests in the city turned to chaos following the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer. Scott Carpenter, the owner of B&L Office Furniture, witnessed the unrest firsthand when his family-owned business was burned to the ground.
"We just saw the whole front of the building go up and watched it be destroyed in front of our eyes," said Carpenter.
Now Carpenter says all he can do is hope and pray that people keep things peaceful in the city he's lived in for more than 30 years.
"Protesting is okay, but rioting and creating mass destruction to your town or an outsider coming into your town, it does not prove a single thing. It doesn't help," said Carpenter.
In preparation for the potential outcome, Governor Tony Evers announced Friday that 500 Wisconsin Army National Guard troops would be on standby to respond if their help is requested by local law enforcement.
"That would be great if that's needed. Hopefully, it won't be needed. We are going to make it through this. We're going to stay strong and be strong," said Benson.