Gov. Pritzker activates National Guard as Illinois cities face ‘surge of destructive action’ in last 24 hours

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday that he has activated 300 additional troops from the Illinois National Guard, to support cities that have “faced a surge of destructive action, namely looting, in the last 24 hours.”

Prtizker had already activated 375 Guardsmen to assist police with street closures in Chicago.

Also, the Governor said 300 Illinois State Troopers will be coming on duty Monday night to help Illinois communities.

The additional law enforcement is meant to quell civic unrest in Illinois following a weekend of violent incidents, stemming from the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last Monday.

Pritzker has also issued a disaster proclamation for nine counties, primarily surrounding Chicago but also including Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Macon, Madison, Sangamon, and Will.

“We have to take care of our communities and our people, and for that reason, we will continue to strategically deploy Illinois State Police and the National Guard as we work to protect Illinoisans and the First Amendment rights of peaceful protesters,” said Pritzker. “We cannot allow those who have taken advantage of this moment to loot and smash to also steal the voices of those peacefully expressing a need for real, meaningful change. This anger doesn’t come out of nowhere – it’s born of decades and centuries of systemic racism and injustice. That’s what all of us have to recognize and that’s where our work begins.”

“It’s difficult to put into words the damage that has happened to our communities over the weekend,” Pritzker said. “The pain will fall disproportionately on small business owners.”

According to the Associated Press, Trump spoke to governors on a video teleconference with law enforcement and national security officials, telling the local leaders they “have to get much tougher” amid nationwide protests and criticizing their responses.

“Most of you are weak,” Trump said. “You have to arrest people.”

Pritzker had a tense exchange with the president, saying, “I wanted to take this moment – and I can’t let it pass – to speak up and say that I’ve been extraordinarily concerned about the rhetoric that’s been used by you,” according to a transcript.

“It’s been inflammatory, and it’s not okay for that officer to choke George Floyd to death,” Pritzker said. “But we have to call for calm. We have to have police reform called for.”

According to WMAQ, Trump responded by criticizing Pritzker’s rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Pritzker is no longer holding daily coronavirus briefings.

The state saw it’s lowest cases in 2 months on Monday, with 974 new cases, and 23 additional deaths statewide.

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