MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin National Guard’s activation to assist police responding to protests in cities throughout Wisconsin following the death of George Floyd is over, Gov. Tony Evers said on Tuesday.
Nearly 1,500 Guard members were mobilized over the past week to assist local police with protests, some of which were violent, in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine. Most of the protests were peaceful.
Floyd died on May 25 after he was pinned to the pavement by a white Minneapolis police officer who put a knee on his neck for what prosecutors said was 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Cellphone video of the encounter, including Floyd’s pleas of “I can’t breathe,” ignited protests and scattered violence across the U.S. and around the world, turning the 46-year-old Floyd into a worldwide symbol of injustice.
“This is a watershed moment for our nation, one that requires everyone being willing to come together,” Evers said in a statement. “I am encouraged by the peaceful protesters who continue to make their voices heard and demand change, and I am grateful for the citizen soldiers of the Wisconsin National Guard whose important mission helped keep our communities safe.”
More than 1,200 members of the Wisconsin National Guard remain mobilized to help with the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.