KENOSHA — The Kenosha County Sheriff said they are taking multiple steps to try and avoid another night of destruction in the city.
“We’re doing certain things around this building that will allow us to reduce the personnel to protect the campus,” Sheriff David Beth said.
Beth didn’t get into many specifics about their plans, but mentioned a heavy-duty steel fence around the courthouse and other government buildings downtown should go a long way to freeing up manpower to protect other vulnerable areas of the city.
“They know we’re tied up some place else and they go over to Uptown area and crash the windows and throw accelerant in there and start the fire,” Beth said. “They know where law enforcement is.”
Tuesday morning, several fires continued to burn uncontrollably in the city. Beth said, because law enforcement couldn’t secure areas where the fires were, firefighters couldn’t safely get in to extinguish them.
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“Usually where these fires are, are truly in a danger zone,” Beth said. “Fire departments are trying their best. They’re trying to come up with different techniques to put them out too but until an area is safe, they’re not going into it.”
The 8:00 p.m. curfew will be in effect for another night and reinforcements are on the way. Governor Tony Evers announced the Wisconsin National Guard would be doubling its effort in Kenosha; bringing 250 troops to the city.
Beth says they’re getting additional law enforcement officers as well from as far as Oneida and Trempealeau Counties.
“We may be distributing the National Guard into different assets in the city tonight,” Beth said.
The National Guard cannot make arrests but Beth said they’ve only made 16 arrests over the course of the two nights. He said, this is intentional as to not cause any more chaos.
“It’s difficult to arrest people in this group, at least on the front end,” Beth said. “When you go into a group of 500 or 1,000 and go to pull people out, you’ve created a riot. You now have bricks being thrown at you.”
Beth says they will make more arrests as they check surveillance video from the unrest.
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said several officers have been injured over the past two nights. Because of this, they’ve asked for more help from state and federal levels.
With thousands of people in Kenosha on Sunday and Monday nights, Beth believes most of the destruction is coming from people from outside of Kenosha, specifically in Milwaukee and Chicago.
“Their entire goal is to come here and wreak havoc,” Beth said. “The professional agitators, as we call them, come from other places. They don’t care. They come here to burn and loot buildings.”