Nearly 150 military police from Arizona remain in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as President Donald Trump prepares a Tuesday visit to the city, the site of days of police protests after officers shot a black man in the back seven times.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said the request for Arizona National Guard to be deployed as police back-up came from Wisconsin’s governor, despite a tweet from the president Monday.
“If I didn’t INSIST on having the National Guard activate and go into Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha right now. Also, there would have been great death and injury,” President Trump’s tweet said.
“The president has been emphatic about what he’d like to see, and it’s been an emphasis on public safety, and with Governor [Tony] Evers’ request, we are more than happy to help,” Ducey said Monday afternoon.
The Arizona National Guard’s adjutant general told ABC15 their missions so far have been to protect buildings and convoy with first responders, like firefighters, to safely get to scenes. He said the job would never involve making arrests, just support functions to keep protesters and all people safe.
“Allowing the police - the posted and sworn officers - either state, federal, and local there in Wisconsin - to handle direct engagement with folks that are not staying inside the bounds of peaceful assembly,” said Major Gen. Michael McGuire, adjunct general for Arizona.
Arizona State Rep. Athena Salman, D-Tempe, said the governor’s decision to send troops was tone-deaf, and she said he should be concentrating on police reform in our own state. Salman said even though the Arizona National Guard is working a support role in Kenosha, their presence supports unequal enforcement of the law in Wisconsin.
“If you are on the right-wing side, you don’t see the brutality that the black and brown community experience every day, especially when they are protesting,” Salman said.
It’s unclear how long the Arizona National Guard troops will remain on Wisconsin, which will foot the bill for their deployment.