Evers’ office: ‘The governor has already prepared the Wisconsin National Guard for mobilization’ in Kenosha

KENOSHA, Wis. — Wisconsin National Guard troops are ready for mobilization to Kenosha ahead of the jury’s verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial if Gov. Tony Evers deems it necessary.

Last summer, Gov. Tony Evers deployed National Guard troops to the city following a violent night of protests during which Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two of them. Rittenhouse’s trial for charges stemming from that night is expected to conclude early next week. Both the prosecution and defense have rested their cases.

FROM 2020: Additional National Guard members, federal law enforcement to support Kenosha County

News 3 Now reached out to Evers’ office and Wisconsin National Guard officials on Thursday asking about potential plans for troop mobilization and clarity on the decision-making process in advance of the jury’s looming verdict.

In separate responses, both said they’re in close contact with local law enforcement and are prepared to mobilize troops if needed, but did not provide details on the number of troops, potential timing for mobilization, locations for troop staging, and the length of a potential mission.

“As has been the case since before the trial began, we continue to be in close contact with local partners and the state will, as always, work to provide necessary support and resources,” Britt Cudaback, Communications Director for Evers’ office, said in a statement. “The governor has already prepared the Wisconsin National Guard for mobilization.”

Major Joe Travato, Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the Wisconsin National Guard, shared the following statement in response to the same questions: “The Wisconsin National Guard continues to remain in close contact with our partners at the local level, as it has since before the trial began. We are prepared to mobilize and remain ready to assist if needed.”

Earlier on Thursday, Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Sgt. David Wright said the sheriff’s department and Kenosha Police Department have been monitoring the Rittenhouse trial citing “varying opinions and feelings” surrounding the trial “that may cause concerns.”

“Both of our departments have dedicated staff working in conjunction with local, State, and Federal law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of our communities,” Wright said.

Evers mobilized 500 National Guard troops in January ahead of the charging decision in the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which spurred the protests that drew Rittenhouse to Kenosha in August 2020. Troops were stationed in Kenosha for roughly a week.