Ferguson Mayor Testifies He Tried in Vain to Urge Gov. Nixon to Send in National Guard as Ferguson Burned
Governor Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard out of Ferguson, Missouri before the grand jury released its decision on Michael Brown’s shooting death.
As a result of this – DOZENS of Ferguson and Dellwood businesses were looted, torched and vandalized by hundreds of violent protesters and looters.
Ferguson Mayor Knowles tried desperately to contact Governor Nixon the night of the rioting but was unable to reach him or his staff.
The Associated Press obtained an email that shows Missouri Democratic leaders met to discuss Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson – who they wanted to resign.
In the email top Missouri Democrats were told the National Guard would be pulled from Ferguson before the grand jury decision on the Michael Brown case:
“Apparently the guard will not move to the FPD per the governor.”
On Wednesday Mayor James Knowles testified before a state legislative committee that he tried in vain to urge Governor Jay Nixon to send in the National Guard as looters and protesters destroyed the city.
The AP reported:
The mayor of Ferguson said Wednesday that he had tried in vain to urge Gov. Jay Nixon to deploy the National Guard in his town as people burned and looted buildings in protest of a grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case.
Mayor James Knowles III was the lead witness as a Missouri legislative committee began hearing testimony on why the National Guard was not quickly deployed in Ferguson on Nov. 24, when grand jurors opted not to charge officer Darren Wilson, who is white, for fatally shooting the black 18-year-old.
Nixon declared a state of emergency a week before the grand jury decision and had said the National Guard would be available to help local authorities “protect life and property” in case protests turned violent, as they did after Brown was shot Aug. 9
Knowles said he originally was told by St. Louis County police that the Guard would be available to protect the Ferguson police and fire departments and City Hall when the grand jury’s decision was announced. But Knowles said the county police chief later told him the Guard would not be there, because of a decision by the governor.
When protesters began destroying property on Nov. 24, Knowles said he tried unsuccessfully to call two Nixon staff members. He said he then reached out to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and state Treasurer Clint Zweifel for help in urging the governor to send in the National Guard. Knowles said it was his understanding that they also were unsuccessful.
The Guard eventually was sent into Ferguson early on Nov. 25, but by then most of the damage had already been done.
Nixon, speaking to reporters earlier Wednesday, said the plans called for state and local police to provide security in Ferguson, with the Guard stationed at the local command post and elsewhere in the St. Louis region. Nixon noted that there were no deaths in the riots that night, although numerous businesses were burned and looted.
“I believe that was the right plan,” Nixon said. “Unfortunately, as I’ve said before, there was looting and some property destruction at night. But … it’s important we put lives before buildings.”
Knowles said he believes that if the Guard had been used in front of Ferguson’s municipal buildings, more police might have been available for security elsewhere in town.