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Arizona sending more than 150 Guard troops to Wisconsin

August 27, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona is sending more than 150 members of the state National Guard to Wisconsin to help after widespread unrest over police shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, on Sunday.

The Guard has activated members of its 850th Military Police Battalion to help law enforcement in Kenosha, Gov. Doug Ducey’s office confirmed Thursday. They are expected to arrive Friday.

Arizona is one of three states sending Guard units to Wisconsin after Gov. Tony Evers requested assistance.

“In the United States, we hold sacred the First Amendment rights of citizens to protest and assemble peacefully, as well as the safety and security of all of our citizens,” Ducey said in a statement. He noted that the Guard was called out in Arizona to help with security following protests over the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, a Black man, died after a white officer pressed a knee to his neck.

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“We support public safety, everywhere — and we stand ready to support Wisconsin now in their time of need,” Ducey said.

Kenosha saw peaceful and solemn protests Wednesday night for the first time since the weekend police shooting of Blake. That wasn’t the case Tuesday night, when two demonstrators were fatally shot and a third was wounded.

A 17-year-old from Illinois was arrested in the shootings. The attack late Tuesday and the shooting by police Sunday of Blake, a 29-year-old Black father of six who was left paralyzed from the waist down, made Kenosha the latest focal point in the fight against racial injustice that has gripped the country since Floyd’s death.

Evers declared a state of emergency Tuesday, and President Donald Trump announced federal law enforcement officers and National Guard troops were being sent to the state to quell the unrest.