Wisconsin National Guard headed to Milwaukee to assist local law enforcement

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT)– The Wisconsin National Guard has been called to Milwaukee to assist local law enforcement after protests over the officer-involved death of George Floyd turned violent. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) said the members will support the community’s response to agitators that have disrupted peaceful protests.

In a press release, Gov. Evers said the request was made by Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.

The governor is authorizing 125 guard members to be immediately utilized by local law enforcement. Any additional members require direct verbal authorization from the governor.

The members being called to active duty can only support local law enforcement or be used to protect critical infrastructure. That might include utilities and fire stations, and “cultural institutions necessary for the wellbeing of the community.” The press release said the National Guard may not be used to impose peaceful protests or interfere with the media’s ability to report on these activities.

“It is critical that people are able to peacefully express their anger and frustration about systemic racism and injustice, in Milwaukee, the State of Wisconsin, and our Nation. This limited authorization of citizen soldiers from the Wisconsin National Guard will help protect people who are exercising their First Amendment rights and ensure the safety of the public,” said Gov. Evers, County Executive Crowley and Mayor Barrett, in a joint statement.