Wisconsin mobilizes National Guard and city approves emergency resolution ahead of charging decision in police shooting of Jacob Blake

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely will deliver his charging decision for the officer who shot the 29-year-old Black man within the first two weeks of January, according to a the agenda of Monday’s city council meeting, which unanimously approved granting Mayor John Antaramian emergency powers once the announcement is made.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced Monday he is mobilizing 500 National Guard troops ahead of the decision at the request of local officials.

“Our members of the National Guard will be on hand to support local first responders, ensure Kenoshans are able to assemble safely, and to protect critical infrastructure as necessary,” Evers said in the statement.

Blake was shot seven times in the back by a White Kenosha police officer, Rusten Sheskey, responding to a call about a domestic incident on August 23, 2020. Blake survived the shooting but was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Disturbing video of the incident led to mass protests in Kenosha as well as across the US.

Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney who represents Blake’s family, said police shot Blake after he had tried to break up an argument between two women. Blake was entering his car, where his three young sons were, when an officer grabbed his shirt and shot him at point blank range, Crump said.

Officers rendered aid to Blake before he was flown to a Milwaukee hospital, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation said.

Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., on Monday called for charges against the officer while urging Kenosha to “stand up and make some noise.”

He added, “Let’s be heard around the world. We’re not going to stop in Kenosha. We’re headed to DC. We’re headed to Nancy Pelosi’s office. We’re headed to whoever is going to be in charge of the Senate. Because this has got to be federally heard, for not just my son, but for everybody who has suffered police brutality — everyone.”

Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, said his nephew has been working to recover from the incident and has become “our new hero.”

“The way he is taking this mental approach, the way he puts all his effort into his therapy, and the passion, if anybody could walk again one day, it would be my nephew,” Justin Blake said.

‘Differing opinions and strong emotions’ around the decision

The city has been bracing for the decision on charges.

In an op-ed published in the Kenosha News on December 27, Mayor Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said they did not know what the decision would be or when it would arrive, but they said they will be prepared.

“What we do know is that regardless of the decision, people will have differing opinions and strong emotions about it. That is everyone’s right. Whether you agree or disagree, we ask that you express your opinions peacefully and lawfully,” the officials wrote.

“We will not — we cannot — tolerate the kind of violence we saw on our streets earlier this year and we will take definitive steps to protect our residents and businesses.”

Meantime, the arraignment of Kyle Rittenhouse is scheduled for Tuesday.

Rittenhouse, 17, faces charges of fatally shooting two men, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding another, Gaige Grosskreutz, during protests following the police shooting of Blake.

Kenosha shooting suspect Kyle Rittenhouse ordered to stand trial

Rittenhouse also is charged with possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18, a misdemeanor, according to court records.

An attorney for Rittenhouse, Mark Richards, argued that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense in a preliminary hearing last month.

Attorneys for Grosskreutz and Huber’s family announced Sunday they intend to file claims against the City and County of Kenosha, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, Police Chief Miskinis, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, and other employees, according to the notice sent to Kenosha City and County clerks.

They are each requesting $10 million in compensation, due to “intentional acts and negligence,” Grosskreutz’s attorney Kimberly Motley said.

CNN’s Raja Razek, Artemis Moshtaghian, Brad Parks Sara Sidner, Rebekah Riess and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.

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