Wisconsin’s Democratic governor Tony Evers "fanned the flames" of the 2020 deadly Kenosha riot and "refused" to send aid for law enforcement, Kenosha police officers are claiming in a new Republican ad campaign.
Tim Michels, the Republican candidate running against Evers in the competitive governor’s race, launched the seven-figure TV ad blitz on Tuesday, which will run statewide, his campaign told the Washington Free Beacon.
The ad comes as Republicans have hammered Evers and the state’s lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes—who is running against Republican senator Ron Johnson—over their crime policies and accused them of contributing to rising violence and lawlessness in the state.
In the video, Kenosha law enforcement claims the Evers administration’s anti-police comments fueled the violence that erupted in the city after the 2020 police shooting of Jacob Blake.
"When Kenosha burned, Tony Evers fanned the flames," said one officer.
Other officers, who were pictured standing in front of City of Kenosha police cars, added that Evers "blamed police" after the shooting, and they said, "When we needed help, he refused."
Riots broke out in Kenosha in the summer of 2020 after police shot Blake, a man who was resisting arrest while armed with a knife. While the Evers administration suggested the shooting was the result of racism and police brutality, subsequent investigations found no evidence of police misconduct.
Two people were shot and killed during the riots, and dozens of businesses were damaged or burned.
Crime has become a major election issue in Wisconsin, with 61 percent of state voters saying they are "very concerned" about the issue and 27 percent saying they are "somewhat concerned," according to a Marquette Law School poll in September.
The homicide rate in Milwaukee spiked in 2022, marking the third year in a row of record-breaking murder cases in the city. Republicans have blamed soft-on-crime policies from the Evers administration, which promised to cut the prison population in half and has boasted about paroling large numbers of inmates.