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Jefferson City, Mo. —As businesses were burned and looted in Ferguson, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was inundated with messages from the public criticizing him for not using the National Guard to prevent the civil unrest that followed a grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case.

Documents provided to The Associated Press under an open records request show Nixon received hundreds of online messages from people in the St. Louis area and across the country expressing bewilderment, frustration and outrage that guardsmen were not preemptively deployed to the most troubled locations.

A Missouri legislative committee is to begin holding hearings Wednesday aimed at determining why not. The bipartisan panel is to first hear testimony from local officials as a prelude to calling upon members of Nixon’s administration in the coming weeks.

A Nixon spokesman said Tuesday that the Guard was intended to provide a “support role,” so that hundreds of law enforcement officers could be devoted to policing the area. The governor has said previously that he was pleased there were no deaths in the riots but was “somewhat surprised by the amount of violence” that occurred the night of Nov. 24, when a prosecutor announced that grand jurors had decided not to charge Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who is white, for killing the unarmed 18-year-old Brown, who was black.

Nixon had declared a state of emergency a week ahead of the grand jury announcement and had said the Guard would help local authorities “protect life and property.” That drew a mixed reaction from St. Louis area residents, with some sending Nixon thankful messages and others expressing concern that the military’s presence would inflame an already tense situation.

When the grand jury decision was announced, more than 700 guardsmen were stationed preemptively throughout the St. Louis region and nearly 500 law officers were in Ferguson. But no guardsmen were positioned outside businesses along a prominent Ferguson road where looting and arson had occurred after Brown’s Aug. 9 shooting.

“A lot of state resources were put into that and then apparently not really used – or used in a manner that’s not being fully explained,” said Sen. Kurt Schaefer, chairman of the Joint Committee on Government Accountability, which is holding the hearings.

Moments after the grand jury announcement, some protesters began looting and setting fires to businesses and vehicles in Ferguson and the nearby suburb of Dellwood. The National Guard was not on the scene as television networks carried live coverage of the destruction.

“Ferguson businesses are being looted and burned. Where are the National Guard?” Ferguson resident Sharon Heidemann wrote late on Nov. 24 in one of first such messages sent to Nixon through the public “contact” section of his website.

Over the next 24 hours, Nixon’s office received about 500 messages critical of his response. He got barely a dozen messages supporting his actions.

“Shame on you for letting Ferguson burn,” Ferguson resident Michael Pierce wrote shortly after midnight on Nov. 25.

One local National Guard soldier wrote to Nixon’s office saying he was voluntarily and single-handedly protecting a Ferguson shopping center against looters. “I’m doing this on my own free will. SO WHERE ARE THE TROOPS,” wrote soldier Andre Akins.

Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner said that although the Guard had trained for handling civil unrest, Nixon’s orders were for the troops to provide a supporting role to St. Louis County police who were leading the state and local effort to secure Ferguson. Guard members were eventually sent to Ferguson’s troubled spots early on Nov. 25, but the most serious damage had been done by then.

“The Guard was not there to actively engage in law enforcement activities, but to provide eyes and ears and boots on the ground for law enforcement, to call them when needed,” Danner told the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee last week.

The Missouri National Guard spent about $6.6 million on payroll, meals and supplies while deployed in the St. Louis area from Nov. 17 to Dec. 16. Millions more dollars were spent by the state patrol and local police.

St. Louis County recently announced that it was spending $500,000 to demolish 18 buildings – housing about 30 businesses – that were burned in Ferguson and Dellwood.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said he had asked St. Louis County police to bring in the National Guard when the grand jury decision was announced. In an email previously obtained by the AP, the county police chief told an assistant that the Guard would not be placed at the Ferguson Police Department “per the governor.”

Knowles said he’s frustrated, like many of his residents, that the Guard wasn’t deployed sooner. He plans to testify at the legislative hearings.

“The people deserve an answer as to what was done, and why,” Knowles said.

Did Missouri Governor Let Ferguson Burn? Hearings Begin In Probe Today was originally published on newsone.com

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18 thoughts on “Did Missouri Governor Let Ferguson Burn? Hearings Begin In Probe Today

  1. The people of that city were mad because they called in the guard earlier and complained that they had militarized the town and then the governor stood down the guard and now they are complaining they removed them. They can’t win here. These people burned down their own neighborhoods then complain it burned. That’s a little messed up. Why burn your own neighborhood in the first place.

  2. Would have never happened if michael brown decided not to fight a cop, try to take his gun and charge him. Plain and simple.

    Lastly, obama and holder instructed the democratic governor to stand down the guard … There you go, Mistakes starting with michael brown, holder, obama and all the paid agitators to stir up things in Ferguson that allowed that city to be burnt down. Lots of people to blame.

  3. The governor did nor cause Ferguson to burn. Black racists behaving like animals did that. Are their any of their actions that black people feel they should take responsibility for? It appears everything they choose to do is the white man’s fault.

  4. TheRaven on said:

    It was not the left wing liberal democrat governor who rioted looted and burned Ferguson, Mo it was black people. .Why is the truth so hard to except ? Blacks were also used as pawns by a rich liberal named George Soros who spent millions busing in black agitators from St Louis.

    • Have you noticed EVERY single place in this country run by liberal democrats is a crap hole. EVERY place ….. These liberal run cities from Newark to Oakland all across this nation are living proof of a failed philosophy.

  5. This is the problem with this country, all of these racists who have made comments on this website; in which they all refuse to know as well as acknowledge the “true” history of A America, and the accomplishments that blacks have made. Racists ease guilt by stereotyping. And in addition, is why black history is not taught in schools across America.

  6. any district attorney wouldn’t of read the verdict in the middle of the night the state I livein got more sense to read a grand jury verdict in the middle of the night and besides they don’t miss lead the grand jury and there
    A JUDGE IN THE COURT ROOM THE JUDGE TELLS THE JURY NOT THE district attorney

  7. lemonjellorobinson@hotmail.com on said:

    Of course…..lets not actually hold those accountable who did the burning and looting. Lets find a white guy to blame…..deflect…….deflect……..deflect! The savages of Ferguson acted like animals, tore up their own city, burned businesses to the ground and stole everything that wasn’t nailed down, but let’s not hold them accountable. That would be practicing self responsibility……something the black community is clearly allergic to!

  8. TINA ]MAYBE SO BAD COPS DONT DO ANY CITY ANY GOOD WHERE I LIVE THE POLICE FORCE WORKS WITH THE PEOPLE AND THEY HAVE COMMUNITY MEETING AND IF THERE ANY PROBLEMS THEY ATLEASE THEY TRY TO SOLVE THEM THEY ALL SO HAVE BACKUP THERE NEVER BY THERE SELF 2 TO A CAR AND THEY HAVE BODY AND CAR CAMERAS AND TAZERS AND PEPPER SPRAY THAT HOW THE LAW ENFORCEMENT WORKS HERE

  9. This lowlife, lazy, self indulgent and unintelligent subspecies in human form cannot formulate cohesive thought yet when asked to rampage, pillage and burn, these are things this species understands. They have trouble forming syllables but have no trouble in stealing, burning and robbing from each other. They are an unwanted virus, a disease that civilized society must soon eradicate.

    • THERE A LOT NOT BEING TOLD [1 ] WHY DID THE district attorney wait until dark to read verdict 2 ]the governor waited to long to call the guard out [3 the district attorney and the assistant district attorney miss lead the grand JURY SO AS I SEE IT THERE ALL AT FAULT NOT ONE INCLUDEING THE POLICE CHIEF

  10. He could have been worried that the Guard members would be targeted and slaughtered. And they very well might have been. Residents turned into savages, looting and burning and killing.

  11. The attention should turn to Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama who did not want the National Guard there. Many reports his hand was on this decision and brow beat Democratic Governor Jay Nixon to NOT send in the guard.

    Ferguson burning down that night was due to decisions and directions made from the obama white house … look it up

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