MADISON — At the request of Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Gov. Tony Evers on Saturday authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to support the Milwaukee community’s response to agitators that have disrupted peaceful protests following the alleged murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Pursuant to Section 321.39(1)(a)5. of the Wisconsin Statutes, the governor is ordering into state active duty members of the Wisconsin National Guard necessary to support local law enforcement in Milwaukee County, beginning immediately.
Specifically, the governor is authorizing 125 members to be immediately used by local law enforcement. The use of any additional members require direct verbal authorization from the governor. Any members called to active duty may be used only to provide support to local law enforcement and to protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations, and cultural institutions necessary for the well-being of the community.
The National Guard may not be used to impede the ability of people to peacefully protest or interfere with the media’s ability to report on those activities.
Evers, Crowley, and Barrett released the following statement:
“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.”
On Friday, Evers released the following statement:
“Earlier this week, another Black life was extinguished before our eyes. His name was George Floyd. He was 46. His life matters and his family deserves justice.
"There was no empathy or humanity in his death. This was not an anomaly. We hear the echo of the words of Eric Garner. We relive the pain of the death of Black Wisconsinites like Dontre Hamilton, Ernest Lacy, and Sylville Smith. Frustration and anger about systemic injustices are always justified.
"Folks in Wisconsin should be able to protest peacefully and to report on these events without the fear of being unsafe or arrested. And if you’re exercising that right, please wear your masks and keep social distance as best as you can.
"We must see the trauma, fear, and exhaustion of being Black in our state and our country. We must offer our empathy, we must offer our support, but most of all we must offer our action. The solution isn’t in one person, it’s in all of us, together. We must confront our comfortability with racism. We must reestablish trust with communities of color. We must be willing to listen, we must be willing to be uncomfortable, we must be willing to do the work.”