Kenosha, home to some 100,000 people, has experienced riots for three straight nights after police officers shot and severally wounded African American men Jacob Blake over the weekend that made the city yet another focal point for the Black Lives Matter movement and associated organizations.
US federal and Wisconsin state authorities announced on Wednesday that hundreds of additional security personnel will be deployed to the city of Kenosha after protests against police brutality escalated into riots with gun violence resulting in the death of two people.
Earlier on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said that Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers agreed to accept the US government’s assistance and federal law enforcement agents to be deployed to Kenosha. Evers issued a statement saying that 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard will be deployed in the city in addition to the 250 he authorized earlier.
Kenosha authorities, who asked for 1,500 officers, hailed the reinforcements after local forces encountered looting, arson, Molotov cocktails and other manifestations of violence.
“The good people of Kenosha want them here,” officials said during a press briefing, adding that the federal contingent and National Guard forces are already present in the city where a curfew will be in effect from 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to 7:00 a.m. Thursday.
The reinforcements are coming to Kenosha after two people were killed and at least one other was seriously injured On Tuesday night in a shooting described by media as a vigilante incident. The suspect, a 17-year-old male, was arrested several hours later in the neighboring state of Illinois and is charged with first-degree murder.
Kenosha officials denied any detailed knowledge of the shooting, including the suspect’s name, and refused to speculate whether he belonged to white-armed militias which reportedly came to the city to confront Black Lives Matter and other leftist protesters.
“No, I don’t want more guns out in the street in the community when we are trying to make sure that we keep people safe,” Kenosha mayor John Antaramian told reporters about his attitude to the presence of vigilante militias.