Governor Jay Nixon (D) has signed an executive order directing the National Guard to respond to Ferguson.
Nixon’s office says the action is in response to “coordinated attacks on civilians and law enforcement.” It says the order directs additional resources through the Guard “to help restore peace and order and to protect the citizens of Ferguson.”
In a statement, Nixon’s office writes:
“Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk. I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning this criminal activity that included firing upon law enforcement officers, shooting a civilian, throwing Molotov cocktails, looting, and a coordinated attempt to block roads and overrun the Unified Command Center. These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory, and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served, and to feel safe in their own homes. Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard to assist Colonel Ron Replogle and the Unified Command in restoring peace and order to this community.”
Some, including members of Missouri’s Congressional delegation, have been critical of the use of equipment such as armored vehicles, with Senator Claire McCaskill (D) saying it is time to “de-militarize this situation.”
Nixon’s order clears the use of “such equipment as may be necessary in support of civilian authorities,” which could include the use of the Guard’s own armored vehicles and other military equipment as Guard leaders see fit.