Missouri Gov. Nixon explains National Guard placement: “Didn’t want to have a Kent State”

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ROLLA, MO (KTVI) - Governor Jay Nixon answers why the National Guard left North County unprotected the night of the Grand Jury decision.

On November 24th, businesses burned while National Guard Quick Responders waited for a call that didn't come until after midnight.

One guardsmen told me, "We were watching, on TV and smart phones, the city burn, while we stood by ready."
The 700 Guardsmen who got the call were sent to St. Louis City and Clayton.

We've been asking the Governor's office this week whether St. Louis County`s Police Chief requested Guardsmen in North County.

Thursday in Rolla, I asked, "What`s the answer to the yes or no question, did St. Louis County`s Police Chief ask for North County to be protected?"

Governor Nixon responded, "Well certainly we all worked together to make sure we were working on the dual pillars."

Hayes followed up, "So then why did Rapid Response sit and watch businesses burn?"
Governor: "Well as I said before the plan that night was to make sure we had officers out there."
Hayes: "But they weren't out there."
Governor: "There were 700, yes they were."
Hayes: "But there were 1500 sitting and waiting. 700 out on the streets and 1500 waiting for a call."
Governor: "There were 700 assigned that night, others came later as the night went on."

Not until 1am November 25th- nearly two hours after Fox 2 asked the Governor`s office - "Where`s the guard in North County?"

I asked the Governor, '"..like they were in Clayton, why not have them in North County like... it sounds like you`re saying the St. Louis County Police Chief did ask for that presence."
Governor: "No, what I`m saying is the plan was that the law enforcement officers who have been trained would be out on the front lines. You didn`t want to have a Kent State situation. You certainly didn`t want to have a situation where Guardsmen who had only been there a few hours, who had not been used to the very kinetic atmosphere of people throwing things, screaming things at the very front tip of that spear. That was the plan. I think it has prevented loss of life."

The "dual pillars" the Governor referenced protecting means safety and speech. He never clearly answered whether Unified Commanders asked for Guardsmen to be in North County and we`re still waiting for an answer about whether Unified Command will answer that question as the command`s spokesman has yet to answer our request.

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Follow Chris Hayes on Twitter @ChrisHayesTV
Email chris.hayes@tvstl.com

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