Kenosha, WI – Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers activated 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops in anticipation of riots if the jury in the murder trial of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse doesn’t find him guilty.
National Guard troops will stage outside Kenosha and be on standby in case they need to respond quickly to assist local law enforcement, WITI reported.
Members of the National Guard can’t be used to stop peaceful protests but if things turn violent, authorities want to put a stop to the chaos before it gets out of control.
The Kenosha area has not yet recovered from the rioting, burning, and looting that accompanied the Jacob Blake riots in August of 2020 and lawmakers have expressed concern about more damage being done when the verdict is announced.
“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,” the governor said in a statement on Nov. 12.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
Defense attorneys for Rittenhouse rested their case on Thursday afternoon, and Kenosha Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder sent the jury home for the weekend.
Schroeder and the attorneys spent most of Friday arguing over the instructions that would be given to the jury on Monday morning and whether the judge would allow into evidence a new picture that they claim proves Rittenhouse lied.
The judge said he planned to instruct the jury on Monday morning and then have closing arguments.
He has said he hoped to have them in deliberations by mid-afternoon.
Kenosha isn’t the only city preparing for possible riots if the verdict in the Rittenhouse case displeases Black Lives Matter and antifa, the Daily Mail reported.
The Chicago Police Department sent an internal memo to officers earlier this week cancelling days off through the weekend.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said the move was made in preparation for a “not guilty” verdict, the Daily Mail reported.
“They do not get to keep saying we need manpower just in case a verdict doesn’t go positive, and all of a sudden there’s upheaval,” Catanzara ranted in a video posted to social media.
Chicago police officials have not confirmed the reason for cancelling days off, the Daily Mail reported.
Sources in other big city police departments said there were preparations and plans to deal with violent protests already in the works but that everything was being dealt with below the radar.
Police departments like Portland, Oregon and the District of Columbia confirmed they have been closely monitoring the trial, the Daily Mail reported.
National Police Association’s spokeswoman, retired police sergeant Betsy Brantner Smith, said police departments don’t want protesters to know what their plans are so they can’t be circumvented.
“I’d guess that perhaps they’re just trying to be prepared without too much being known to potential protesters. A lot of jurisdictions will be doing that,” Brantner Smith said. “One of the things, when we go back to George Floyd riots and others, some departments were caught unawares of how bad the situation was going to be.”
“Law enforcement has learned from recent history… they’re going to try to be prepared,” Brantner Smith told the Daily Mail.
The law enforcement veteran said she thought things in Kenosha, Madison, and Milwaukee could turn ugly if Rittenhouse isn’t found guilty.