Violent protests sparked by the shooting of a Black man by a White police officer has put Kenosha County, Wis., “under attack,” the county board told Democratic Gov. Tony Evers Wednesday in a letter, which requested that an additional 1,500 National Guard members be dispatched to the area to quell the unrest seen for three consecutive nights.
Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot several times Sunday by Kenosha police officers responding to a domestic dispute in a moment caught on cellphone video. Blake’s family says he was trying to peacefully intervene in the incident when he was shot in the back and is now partially paralyzed, according to reports. The incident has sparked a wave of protests in the county that have turned violent.
Video of the incident – which unfolded as Blake reached into his SUV apparently with his three young sons inside – prompted protests and nighttime looting and unrest in Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 people sitting on the shore of Lake Michigan about halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago.
In a letter sent on behalf of the entire county board, Kenosha County Board Chairman John O'Day and Vice Chairwoman Monica Yuhas called on Evers to send additional support for local law enforcement agencies as their county, businesses, and homes remained under attack.
"We, the undersigned, are urgently asking for your swift action to activate more National Guard troops with police powers to be sent to Kenosha County. Our county is under attack. Our businesses are under attack. Our homes are under attack. Our local law enforcement agencies need additional support to help bring civility back to our community," O'Day and Yuhas wrote.
Police trying to secure businesses after protesters set fire to an office in the background late Monday in Kenosha, Wis. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
"We are formally asking for 1,500 National Guard members with police powers to be sent to Kenosha County immediately. Our county is in a state of emergency and we need additional law enforcement to help preserve and save Kenosha County,” the letter read. "We encourage you to visit Kenosha County and see firsthand the destruction that has been inflicted on our community."
The request for 1,500 National Guard troops was the second such letter from the Kenosha County Board. Before a shooting left two dead and a third hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries Tuesday night, the board had requested Evers send at least 2,000 National Guard Troops. Evers initially dispatched 150 troops on Monday and increased that to 250 on Tuesday.
Evers' office has not responded to a Fox News request for comment.
The governor early Tuesday urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully and safely — adding that he planned to send in additional National Guard troops to "ensure individuals can exercise their right safely, protect state buildings and critical infrastructure, and support first responders and firefighters."
"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 said. "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."
Video of the Tuesday-night shooting circulated on social media showing a man with a long-gun being chased down the street by demonstrators before being knocked to the ground and firing into the crowd. The Kenosha County Sheriff's Office was investigating whether the shooting was linked to a "self-styled militia guarding a gas station," the New York Times reported. No arrests have been announced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.