Gov. JB Pritzker is calling up an additional 250 Illinois National Guardsmen to be ready to help prevent looting and civil unrest in nearly a dozen counties. This is in addition to the 375 Pritzker activated to keep streets closed in Chicago Sunday. The governor also ordered the Illinois State Police to provide an additional 300 troopers to local governments.
The nine counties included in Pritzker’s disaster proclamation that allows the use of the National Guard are: Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Macon, Madison, Sangamon and Will.
The Illinois National Guard has not been used to handle civil unrest since there were protests against the Vietnam War and the Kent State shooting in 1970. Illinois National Guard troops were activated in preparation of the 1993 Chicago Bulls NBA championship, but were never used.
“What I can say is that this has something to do about leadership in the nation. When you don’t have national leaders who are bringing down the temperature in situations like this, it tends to fan the flames,” Pritzker told reporters Monday, speaking to the significance of his decision.
“Look at the words that the president has put out on Twitter. Look at the words that he says. He talks about, ‘Total domination,’ ” the governor continued. “I don’t want to dominate peaceful protesters who have legitimate grievances. I do want us to put down the situations of people destroying property or violent behavior.”
Pritzker also called on faith leaders to help by calling for calm and peace.