ABC NEWS(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will deploy more than 2,000 National Guardsmen Tuesday night to prevent a recurrence of the rioting that rocked the city of Ferguson after a grand jury cleared Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of teenager Michael Brown.
“The violence we saw last night cannot be repeated,” Nixon said sternly.
“The National Guard presence is to be ramped up significantly,” he said. He will deploy 2,200 Monday night, Nixon said.
He called the aftermath a “heartbreaking sight,” and said “seniors are afraid to leave the house and children are afraid to go out and play….We must do better and we will.”
The governor’s plan came shortly after Ferguson Mayor James Knowles criticized the governor’s decision to wait to send the National Guard into the protests after the grand jury decision was announced.
The mayor also asked that there be stepped-up protections Tuesday night.
“We must be prepared ahead of time. We must be prepared for the absolute worst,” he said.
Knowles said the National Guard was not deployed ahead of time Monday night, a move he said cost the city.
“Unfortunately as unrest grew and further assistance was needed, the National Guard was not deployed in enough time to save all of our businesses,” said Knowles, adding it’s “deeply concerning.”
He said that by waiting to send in the National Guard to provide assistance for the law enforcement officers already on the ground, protesters were able to do more damage to private property and local businesses.
“Some of these businesses have been hit twice,” Knowles said.
At least a dozen businesses were burned along with a couple of police cars during Monday night’s protests, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said earlier Tuesday.
“We reached out both through unified control and through political channels to make it known we needed more assets,” Knowles said of his office’s efforts to get the National Guard sent in as soon as property began being attacked.
Tuesday night, protesters and law enforcement in Ferguson are still clashing. One person has been arrested and officers in riot gear are pushing crowds back.
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