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Guard troops from 3 states heading to Wisconsin to assist with unrest

National Guard troops from Arizona, Michigan and Alabama were heading to Wisconsin to assist with unrest in Kenosha after the Jacob Blake shooting, said Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday. He did not say how many troops would assist.

The governor has authorized the deployment of 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to Kenosha, doubling the number of troops in the city of 100,000.

The National Guardsmen will operate under state Active Duty status through emergency management assistance agreements with Wisconsin to assist local and state partners in Wisconsin to ensure citizens’ right to safety and maintaining order, according to a Wisconsin Guard statement.

The streets of Kenosha were calm on Thursday following a night of peaceful protests for the first time since Blake was shot by police Tuesday. Blake, a 29-year-old Black father of six who was left paralyzed from the waist down, made Kenosha the latest focal point in the fight against racial injustice that has gripped the country since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

Protesters march past a burned out building damaged in protests against the Sunday police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (David Goldman/AP)
Protesters march past a burned out building damaged in protests against the Sunday police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (David Goldman/AP)

In Washington, the Justice Department said it was sending in more than 200 federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The White House said up to 2,000 National Guard troops would be made available. The Justice Department also announced that the U.S. attorney’s office and FBI would conduct a civil rights investigation into the shooting of Blake, in cooperation with Wisconsin state law enforcement agencies.

Stars & Stripes reported that five National Guard military police companies — two from Michigan, two from Alabama and one from Arizona — will join the 500 Wisconsin troops already on the ground in Kenosha, according to Master Sgt. Michael Houk, a Guard spokesman.

Arizona activated more than 150 members of its National Guard to send to Wisconsin. Members of the 850th Military Police Battalion were activated to help law enforcement in Kenosha, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office confirmed Thursday. The Arizona Guardsmen are expected to arrive there on Friday.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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