Wisconsin National Guard on hold as concluding discussions begin in the Rittenhouse trial

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(The central square)

About 500 Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers are ready to respond to potential riots in Kenosha as a jury is expected to begin deliberations on Monday in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

In a declaration, Gov. Tony Evers said he is taking steps to ensure the safety of residents.

“We continue to be in close contact with our partners locally to ensure that the state provides support and resources to help keep the Kenosha community and the wider area safe,” said Evers. “The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient and united in incredibly difficult times over the past two years, and healing is still ongoing. I urge people who are not otherwise in the area to respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who may choose to come together and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so in a safe and peaceful way. “

Rittenhouse shot and killed two people during Kenosha’s last night of violence in August in the wake of a police shooting of Jacob Blake. A Kenosha police officer shot and wounded Blake on August 23, 2020. Police were trying to arrest Blake on that day for violating a protection order. He was at his ex-girlfriend’s house. He had accused Blake of sexual assault not long ago.

In the nights following the shooting, riots broke out in Kenosha.

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Rittenhouse, an Illinois resident who was 17 at the time, said he and a friend traveled to Kenosha to protect local businesses from rioters and provide medical care to anyone who needed it during the riots. Armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, Rittenhouse shot and killed two men and wounded a third. He said he was acting in self-defense.

Rittenhouse was tried on charges including first degree intentional homicide, first degree intentional homicide, first degree manslaughter and manslaughter. Judge Bruce Schroeder on Monday dismissed the felony charge of illegal possession of a weapon by a person under the age of 18 against Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse took a stand last week and said he only fired because he feared for his life. Jury deliberations are expected to begin Monday afternoon after both prosecutors and defense lawyers have closed their arguments.

“The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient and united in incredibly difficult times over the past two years, and healing is still ongoing,” Evers said. “I urge people who are otherwise not in the area to respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who may choose to come together and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully.”

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