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• The National Guard arrived in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 24, 2020, the day before Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people.
As the Wisconsin National Guard was activated Nov. 12 in preparation for a verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, a viral meme questioned why that didn’t happen last year.
The meme, shared on Facebook, says, "500 National Guardsmen being called to Kenosha ahead of the Rittenhouse verdict. Had they done this in the first place, there wouldn’t have been a trial."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The claim implies that the National Guard was not in Kenosha in August 2020 when Rittenhouse, then 17, shot three people, two of them fatally. But Gov. Tony Evers called in the National Guard on Aug. 24, and the guardsmen arrived the same day. The Rittenhouse shooting happened the following day, Aug. 25.
The events that unfolded in Kenosha that summer began on Aug. 23, when Jacob Blake was shot in the back by a police officer who was trying to arrest him on an outstanding warrant. Blake was left paralyzed. He had been armed with a knife during the encounter, and the officer was not charged with a crime.
A bystander’s video of the shooting circulated widely and reignited protests that had blanketed the U.S. earlier in the year, after police brutality against other Black people such as George Floyd. Protesters poured into Kenosha, the New York Times reported.
The day after the Blake shooting, protests grew violent, with more than 30 fires set and dozens of buildings destroyed. Evers activated the National Guard and 125 members arrived in Kenosha on the night of Aug. 24.
On Aug. 25, Rittenhouse was invited by a friend to go to Kenosha to protect a car dealership during the protests. He has testified that he went to provide first aid. He was armed with an AR-15.
That evening, just before midnight, Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two and wounding the third. He is charged with intentional homicide, reckless homicide and other crimes, and he has pleaded self-defense.
A Facebook post says, "500 National Guardsmen being called to Kenosha ahead of the Rittenhouse verdict. Had they done this in the first place, there wouldn’t have been a trial."
The claim implies that the National Guard was not present in Kenosha when Rittenhouse shot three people, two of them fatally.
The National Guard was activated and arrived in Kenosha on Aug. 24, 2020. The Rittenhouse shooting happened the following day, Aug. 25, 2020.
We rate this claim False.
CORRECTION, Nov. 22, 2021: We corrected an inaccurate description of how George Floyd was killed by a police officer.
Facebook post, Nov. 15, 2021
ABC7, "Kyle Rittenhouse shooting timeline: 3 shot, 2 dead in Kenosha following Jacob Blake police shooting," Nov. 17, 2021
CBS Minnesota, "Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers Calls On National Guard After Police Shooting," Aug. 24, 2020
NBC5 Chicago, "Gov. Evers Deploys National Guard to Kenosha Ahead of Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Decision," Nov. 12, 2021
New York Times, "What We Know About the Shooting of Jacob Blake," Nov. 16, 2021
PolitiFact, "Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother did not bring him to a Kenosha riot armed with a rifle," Nov. 15, 2021
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