The Trump administration said Wednesday that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has accepted federal law enforcement help to shut down days of rioting in the city of Kenosha, where two people were shot dead Tuesday night during a melee spurred by the weekend police shooting of a Black man.
Mr. Evers, a Democrat, also mobilized 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops to assist authorities in Kenosha, where protests and rioting have erupted since Sunday’s police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was seriously injured.
The case gained more attention after the NBA announced that three playoff games would be postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks said they would not take the floor for Wednesday’s game against the Orlando Magic.
“The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games — Bucks vs. Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers — have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled,” the NBA said in a statement.
Kenosha joins a number of other U.S. cities that have been dealing with persistent protests against racism and police brutality since the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, a Black man, in Milwaukee police custody.
“To the governor’s credit, [Mr. Evers] hasn’t hesitated or stalled like we’ve seen in Oregon,” acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said on Fox News. “He moved his National Guard option. I think he needed to move quickly, I think he realized, and of course he and the president have talked. Both of them want peace on the streets of these communities.”
Police in Antioch, Illinois, on Wednesday arrested Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, and charged him with first-degree intentional homicide in the fatal shootings of two people Tuesday night. Antioch is about 20 miles west of Kenosha.
The two people killed were identified as a 26-year-old from Silver Lake, Wisconsin, and a 36-year-old from Kenosha. A third person was taken to a hospital with “serious, but non-life-threatening injuries,” said the Kenosha Police Department.
Mr. Rittenhouse was arrested by the Lake County judicial system in Illinois. An extradition hearing to transfer him to Wisconsin is scheduled for Friday.
Mr. Evers has resisted Mr. Trump’s intervention in the past — he pointedly told the president not to send federal forces last month — but the mobilization in Wisconsin is a sign that nobody wants their city to become like Portland, Oregon.
The famously liberal city marked its 89th straight night of unrest Tuesday with police declaring a riot and making 23 arrests. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Gov. Kate Brown, both Democrats, continue to resist federal assistance.
Mr. Cuccinelli said the situation is different in Kenosha, population 100,000. He said there was “full engagement across the U.S. government and in cooperation … with state and local officials to help bring this all down to a peaceful level.”
Mr. Trump said he was sending in the National Guard and federal law enforcement after speaking with the governor. “We will NOT stand for looting, arson, lawlessness on American streets,” he said in a Twitter post.
“There’s full engagement across the U.S. government and in cooperation — and that is so important, it’s so important to have that cooperation with state and local officials to help bring this all down to a peaceful level,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “Let the investigations plural, state and federal, proceed on the shooting that was a catalyst for this particular violence, but quell the violence itself and keep everybody safe — that’s the goal of the president, and it sounds like it is for Gov. Evers as well.”
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian urged calm. He said the state is investigating the shooting of Mr. Blake and that “once the investigation is done, it will be turned over to the DA’s office.”
“There are a lot of very good people in this community, and what is happening to them is wrong,” Mr. Antaramian said at a press conference. “People have differences of opinion, we have different concepts of how things should be done, those are all fine, but violence in the community is unacceptable. Violence to property, violence to people, absolutely unacceptable, and it is up to us to make sure that that does not continue.”
Rep. Bryan Steil and Sen. Ron Johnson, both Wisconsin Republicans, said in a statement that it is a “tragedy that two people had to lose their lives before Gov. Evers was willing to set aside politics and accept President Trump’s help to restore order.”
“Violence and chaos like we’ve seen the last three nights do nothing to advance justice, and they drown out the voices of those protesting peacefully,” they said. “Going forward, our focus should be on healing — for Jacob Blake, for the lives turned upside down in the rioting, and for the community of Kenosha.”
Dozens of businesses and homes in the city have been destroyed in the looting and burning since Mr. Blake was shot by a white officer. Mr. Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, called for calm and accused rioters of using her son’s shooting as an excuse to create havoc.
“My family and I are very hurt and quite frankly disgusted,” Ms. Jackson told CNN. “And as his mother, please don’t burn up property and cause havoc and tear your own homes down in my son’s name. You shouldn’t do it. People shouldn’t do it anyway, but to use my child or any other mother or father’s child, our tragedy to react in that manner is just not acceptable.”
She said she missed a call from Mr. Trump to tell him “I’m not mad at you at all. I have the utmost respect for you as the leader of our country.”
“Like I said before, and I’m not saying this to him directly, we should always get the details from the right source before we start throwing bricks,” Ms. Jackson said.
Mr. Blake was shot several times in the back during a police call over a domestic dispute. He is now paralyzed from the waist down, family attorney Ben Crump said.
• Dave Boyer and Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.