Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) continues to defend how his administration deployed the Missouri National Guard on the night of the Michael Brown grand jury decision announcement.
Nixon was asked about the decisions made that night, hours before a hearing by a committee made up of House and Senate members that is investigating the state’s handling of it.
“Our hope was that it was going to be a peaceful night and the best way to do that was to make sure that we had the National Guard guarding static locations,” Nixon told reporters.
Some state lawmakers and local city officials in the St. Louis region have been critical of the decision to keep the National Guard back from the front line, but Nixon says that decision helped prevent violence.
He said it is better that his decision-making process and the damage to buildings is being discussed rather than the discussion after the Kent State shootings of 1970.
“American soldiers pointing their weapons at American citizens that are unarmed is not a good thing. Those folks are trained to kill. That’s what soldiers are trained to do. Let’s not kid ourselves, folks,” said Nixon. “We use them in support roles, absolutely, but don’t conflagrate or mix that a police officer with years of experience and right in that hot zone that summer, dealing with all of the issues, could maintain safety better than bringing in a combat veteran trained to point his or her M-1, or whatever other weapon, and pull the trigger … I’m not happy about losing some buildings, but it was a great deal of discipline shown by all the people involved on that.”
Nixon did not criticize the legislative committee’s investigation of his administration’s handling of that night.
“If they want to spend time talking about that, we’ll be glad to cooperate, absolutely,” said Nixon.