Nixon defends state response on night of grand jury announcement

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KTVI)- Top Missouri lawmakers were asking tough questions at a hearing about how authorities responded to the fires and looting that took place in Ferguson and Dellwood after the grand jury announcement in the Michael Brown case. Among those being taken to task was Governor Nixon`s decisions on how to use the National Guard.

Several people testified at the hearing Wednesday night in Jefferson City before a joint Senate and House Committee on government accountability. Among them were firefighters and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles. Nearly 20 businesses were destroyed by fire that night and all kinds of looting took place. Mayor Knowles testified that the original plan called for the National Guard to protect the Ferguson Police Department, City Hall and fire house to that local police could provide mobile patrols in business districts and neighborhoods.

But Knowles said he was told several weeks before the grand jury decision that plan had changed. Instead, the National Guard was elsewhere.

Firefighters also testified that they had been promised National Guard protection that never came. Meanwhile, Governor Nixon defended his decisions on where to put the guard and law officers that night.

The head of the committee says more information will be collected and more hearings will likely take place.