Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has declared a state of emergency amid continued protests in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The protests Monday evening and again on Tuesday erupted into full acts of violence, including arson and a shooting incident.
“Following protests on Monday night, Gov. Evers today announced he is authorizing increased Wisconsin National Guard support for Kenosha County to 250 members and will continue to adjust to meet local needs,” read a statement released by the governor’s office via CNN.
The governor clarified that the protesters have every right to peacefully assemble and that the National Guard troops are present to “ensure individuals can exercise their right safely, protect state buildings and critical infrastructure, and support first responders and firefighters.”
— Jessie Opoien (@jessieopie) August 25, 2020
CNN reports Evers encouraged those people protesting against police brutality to do so safely and peacefully.
“The ability to exercise First Amendment rights is a critically important part of our democracy and the pursuit of justice. But there remains a line between peaceful assembly and what we saw last night that put individuals, families, and businesses in danger,” the statement continued.
“We cannot forget the reason why these protests began, and what we have seen play out over the last two nights and many nights this year is the pain, anguish, and exhaustion of being Black in our state and country,” he added. “But as I said yesterday, and as I’ll reiterate today, everyone should be able to exercise their fundamental right—whether a protester or member of the press—peacefully and safely. We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction.”
The Blake family also called for an end to violent demonstrations, with Blake’s mother specifically saying her son would disapprove.
“As I was riding through here, through this city, I noticed a lot of damage that doesn’t reflect my son or my family,” Jackson said via CNN. “If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased.”
“Let’s use our hearts, our love, and our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other,” she added.