ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson is trying to find out why National Guard troops were not deployed to his city ahead of the Monday night grand jury decision announcement. He learned the Guard would not be on duty the first week in November.
“I asked what caused the decision, the change in mission, but I wasn’t able to get an answer,” he said.
Dozens of Ferguson and Dellwood businesses were damaged or destroyed Monday night as rioters and looters moved freely across the communities. Some set arson fires. Rioters, firing shots in the air, kept fire department crews from responding to the flames.
St. Louis County Police are in charge of protecting areas of Ferguson where protestors gather. Chief Jackson said initially Guard troops were expected to assist police.
“The Unified Command put a plan together and I was informed we were going to have National Guard down here,” Jackson said Thursday after he helped to serve a Thanksgiving meal to firefighters and police. He expected troops to help protect public facilities, buildings and some businesses including those along West Florissant.
“I talked to various people in the Unified Command. I don’t want to get into those private discussions, but I didn’t really get any solid answer why the mission was changed,” he said. The chief declined to consider whether an order had come from the White House or the Justice Department to keep the Guard troops under wraps in Ferguson.
The Guard manpower arrived early Tuesday morning after the rioting has left torched buildings and vehicles in two business districts. Jackson had said little in the weeks leading up to the grand jury decision not to indict his officer Darren Wilson.
Now that he is speaking out Jackson says he believes, “We would have had a lot less destruction and chaos here in Ferguson and Dellwood,” if the Guard had been in the picture. “As it is we’ve got a lot of burned out properties,” he noted with sadness.
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