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Hearings starting on governor’s tactics for Ferguson unrest

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KTVI) - Two different stories emerged in Jefferson City Wednesday as Missouri's governor and Ferguson leaders spoke out about the night arson fires and riots erupted. Governor Jay Nixon said he wanted experienced local police officers on the front line. He said they knew how to handle the protesters. But Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told law makers his community had been promised National Guard troops to guard public buildings like city hall and the police department.

Several weeks before the grand jury decision became public that promise was withdrawn. A joint Senate and House committee held its first public hearing Wednesday night as it investigates the governor's decision to keep Missouri National Guard troops out of sight in Ferguson. Firefighters called in to help protect the area had also been promised National Guard protection but that did not happen. Pattonville Assistant Chief Matt LaVanchy testified he believes they could have put out the fires successfully if they had adequate protection. More hearings are expected in the coming weeks. Law enforcement leaders including members of the unified command are likely to be called to testify. Gov. Nixon is promising to cooperate with the investigation.