A church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was reportedly burned down Tuesday night amid the violent anti-police riots that broke out across the city at the start of the week.
The violence started on Sunday after law enforcement officials shot Jacob Blake, 29, while responding to a domestic incident. Wisconsin authorities are investigating the shooting to see if there was any misconduct by any of the officers involved.
Hours later, riots and looting broke out across Kenosha and businesses were destroyed. A police officer was also reportedly knock out when he was struck with a brick.
The riots extended into the early morning hours on Monday and then picked up again on Monday night and extended into the early morning hours on Tuesday.
“Residents emerged from their houses around midnight to gape at billowing smoke that could be seen for miles. Lost in the blaze, neighbors said, was a mattress store, a storefront church, a Mexican restaurant and a cellphone store,” The New York Times reported. “Less than a mile away, a probation and parole office was also on fire.”
"Fires in Kenosha Reflect Anger After Police Shooting of Jacob Blake"
"Lost in the blaze, neighbors said, was… a storefront church…"
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) August 25, 2020
The situation in Kenosha is so dire that the state’s governor has deployed the national guard to assist local law enforcement.
The Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office said in a statement:
Gov. Tony Evers today, at the request of local officials, authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to support local law enforcement in Kenosha County to help protect critical infrastructure and assist in maintaining public safety and the ability of individuals to peacefully protest. …
Pursuant to Section 321.39(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes, the governor ordered into state active duty members of the Wisconsin National Guard deemed necessary to support to local law enforcement and first responders in Kenosha. Any Guard members called to active duty may only be used to provide support to local law enforcement and to protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions necessary for the well-being of the community, and to provide support to first responders such as the Kenosha Fire Department. The National Guard may not be used to impede the ability of people to peacefully protest or impede the ability of the media to report on this situation.
“I know folks across our state will be making their voices heard in Kenosha and in communities across Wisconsin,” Evers said Monday. “Every person should be able to express their anger and frustration by exercising their First Amendment rights and report on these calls to action without any fear of being unsafe. This is a limited mobilization of the National Guard focused on supporting the needs of local first responders to protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations, and to ensure Kenoshians are able to assemble safely.”
Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, added, “Serving our fellow Wisconsin citizens and assisting civil authorities during times of need is one of core missions in the National Guard. Our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen are well-trained and prepared to assist in any way we can in an effort to preserve public safety.”