Wisconsin governor Tony Evers has called up the National Guard ahead of an impending verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.
About 500 guardsmen will be deployed to a staging area outside the city of Kenosha to assist local law-enforcement officers if needed. Closing arguments in Rittenhouse’s trial are scheduled for Monday, after which the jury will begin deliberations. It is unclear when a verdict will be reached.
“We continue to be in close contact with our partners at the local level to ensure the state provides support and resources to help keep the Kenosha community and greater area safe,” Evers said in a statement Friday. “The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing.”
Rioters burned Kenosha businesses to the ground in August 2020, after a police officer shot and paralyzed a suspect while responding to a domestic call. Evers called on potential demonstrators not to go to Kenosha following the verdict in the Rittenhouse trial.
“I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully,” Evers said.
Rittenhouse shot three people during the 2020 riots, killing two and wounding one. While Rittenhouse has been charged with homicide over the shootings, he argues that he fired his rifle in self-defense after being attacked.