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National Guard Deployed in Anticipation of Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict

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Kyle Rittenhouse during a court hearing. | Image from The New Yorker via Sean Grajacic, Getty Images

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Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers recently authorized the deployment of at least 500 National Guard troops to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to bolster law enforcement efforts connected to the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse a few days before his anticipated verdict.

In a press release published on November 12, 2021, Governor Tony Evers made the following statement on the situation unfolding in Kenosha:

“We continue to be in close contact with our partners at the local level to ensure the state provides support and resources to help keep the Kenosha community and greater area safe. The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing. I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully.”

According to Evers, National Guard units will be placed right outside Kenosha and ready to respond if local law enforcement bodies request back-up.

Under Wisconsin law, members of the National Guard who are summoned to active duty “may only be used to provide support to local law enforcement and to protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions” that are necessary to promote public order.

Similarly, the National Guard may also be deployed to provide aid to first responders, such as the Kenosha Fire Department.

The release mentioned that troops “may not be used to impede the ability of people to peacefully protest” or restrict the media’s ability to report on the situation.

“We stand ready to support our communities during times of need,” declared Major General Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s Adjutant General. “In close coordination with the governor, we have assembled approximately 500 Soldiers to help keep the Kenosha community safe, should a request from our local partners come in.”

On November 10, 2021, Rittenhouse took the stand and described the events of August 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, when he allegedly shot three rioters, killing two of them. Rittenhouse broke down in tears during his testimony and firmly asserted that he killed the rioters in self-defense.

On November 12, the defendant’s attorney announced that Rittenhouse is undergoing therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which the then 17-year-old incurred because of the Kenosha riots.

According to Liz George of American Military News, Rittenhouse is currently facing one misdemeanor and five felonies, which includes “first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.”

Rittenhouse was in jail for two months in the fall of 2020 before he posted $2 million bail due to a crowdfunding effort.

The current jury is expected to start deliberations this week, which includes consideration of six separate criminal counts. According to The New York Times, the jurors could be directed to consider lesser charges.

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