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Governor Nixon Orders 2,200 National Guard Troops Into Ferguson

“The violence in Ferguson last night is unacceptable,” the governor said, announcing that the National Guard presence would be higher on Tuesday.
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Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri ordered more National Guard troops into the embattled city of Ferguson on Tuesday to keep order on the second night after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.

“The violence we saw in areas of Ferguson last night is unacceptable,” the governor said in announcing that the National Guard presence would be upped from 700 troops Monday to 2,200 on Tuesday.

"Last night, criminals intent on lawlessness and destruction, terrorized this community," Nixon said at an afternoon news conference. "I am deeply saddened for the people of Ferguson who woke up to see parts of their community in ruins. No one should have to live like this, no one deserves this. We must do better and we will."

On Monday night, 21 fires were set and at least 12 buildings were burned, police reported looting, and gunfire broke out repeatedly, officials said.

More than 60 people were arrested overnight Monday into Tuesday for protest related crimes in St. Louis County, which includes Ferguson, said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar. He said 32 arrests were for felony burglary related to looting, and 29 were for misdemeanor "unlawful assembly." Ten police cars, mostly belonging to the county, were damaged, including two which were completely burned, he said. Three officers suffered injuries.

Belmar also said officers "found a body" that they were treating as a homicide. And while there was no immediate indication it was related to the protests, he said "at this point I certainly couldn't discount it — I would imagine that there’s some sort of a nexus there."

The civil unrest followed the grand jury’s decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

At a press conference with local clergy on Tuesday afternoon, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said he was disappointed with the delayed use of the National Guard on Monday night. After thanking the police and state troopers who did help protect the city, Knowles said, "unfortunately the national guard was not deployed in enough time to save all of our businesses."

He added, "The decision not to deploy the National Guard was deeply disturbing."

Knowles said that he had reached out through "political channels" Monday night to request the Guard be sent in but admitted, "I haven’t spoken to the governor since the third week of August."

In response to Knowles comments and reports that there was a political agenda at work behind the lack of response, Nixon said, "Politics has not one bit to do with the task at hand, the business at hand and the seriousness of this mission."

Meanwhile, shopkeepers swept up broken glass, buildings smoldered, and police kept parts of the city closed all day Tuesday. People in Ferguson said they were devastated, and some said they were bracing for more.

"This won’t change, and I want better," said Richard Taylor, who lives a few blocks from where Brown was killed. "But, no, I don’t think change is coming. I think it will get worse before it gets better."

Joel Flores, the 65-year-old owner of El Palenque restaurant on S. Florissant, was watching as community members boarded up his restaurant in preparation for Tuesday night.

"I'm kind of worried because last night was crazy and we don't know what's going to happen tonight," he told NBC News. "I'm Disappointed because I was hoping the police would take care of us but last night they didn't do much."

As night fell Tuesday, dozens of protesters began to chant across the street from the Ferguson Police headquarters. But some observers wondered if there wasn't a better outlet.

"I'm inspired that you got people of all ages and people who don't like each other out here with a cause but what I don't like is, how long will it last?" asked Damarko Cheathem, 25, who mentioned the idea raised by some that Ferguson protesters should boycott "Black Friday" sales.

"If you want to make a change, beat people in their pockets," he said. "When Black Friday happens don't go to the stores. If every minority didn't shop, that would make a change."



— Erin McClam, Tracy Jarrett and Hasani Gittens