Wisconsin recruits Michigan National Guard to assist in Kenosha

    An armored police vehicle sits near where protesters gathered on Aug. 24. | Isiah Holmes, Wisconsin Examiner

    Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers released details Thursday that Michigan, Arizona and Alabama are assisting in Kenosha, providing mutual aid in the form of National Guard troops, as well as equipment. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer authorized the troop deployment.

    Michigan’s dedicated National Guardsmen and women have played a vital role to keep Michiganders safe in recent months during the pandemic, and they were a key factor in ensuring peaceful protests in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Lansing after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor earlier this summer,” said Whitmer. “Following a request from Gov. Evers, I have authorized the use of two companies of the Michigan National Guard to assist civil authorities with public safety. I am confident that our guardsmen and women will work hard to keep our neighbors in Wisconsin safe while working to protect their First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly.”

    Protests began after Jacob Blake, an African American man, was shot in the back by Kenosha police on Sunday. This is the fourth escalation of the guard in that city of 100,000 in Southwest Wisconsin.

    The agreements are carried out within an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). Evers said in a statement that troop numbers will be adjusted as needed. 

    Former Kenosha alder is proud of urging militia members to descend on Wisconsin city

    Guard troops from Arizona, Michigan and Alabama joined the Wisconsin National Guard members already located in Kenosha. Evers upped that number to 500 on Wednesday. The guard first arrived on Monday, the day officials from Kenosha made the request. His Republican critics and some Kenosha officials have asked for total troop numbers closer to 2,000 in the small area. Evers, a Democrat, has been under intense political pressure, including phone calls from President Donald Trump and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to augment the law enforcement presence there. Curfews are in place.

    In announcing the new support, Evers’ office made it clear the troops from other states are doing so under state active duty status, not under a federal status and direction — meaning they remain under their own state’s control and fall under the operational control of the adjutant  general of Wisconsin while they are mobilized.

    Local officials are leading the response in Kenosha and National Guard troops are serving in a support role to assist civil authorities in preserving public safety and individuals’ ability to exercise their First Amendment rights to assemble peaceably,” said Evers’ press office.

    A version of this story first ran in the Advance‘s sister site, the Wisconsin Examiner. Read the story here.

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    Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.
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    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.