Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced a drawdown of National Guard operations on Tuesday, roughly a week after boosting security in the St. Louis region following the announcement that a grand jury would not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
Riots erupted in Ferguson shortly after the announcement and demonstrations quickly popped up around the country. Public officials, including Ferguson’s mayor, criticized Nixon for what they claimed was a too-delayed employment of the extra law enforcement officials, resulting in a night of arson, looting and riots that transfixed the national media and smoldered into the morning. Some 2,200 National Guardsmen were on the streets last week; Nixon said Tuesday that 1,268 were on patrol as of 1 p.m., local time.
“The men and women of the Missouri National Guard have served the people of the region admirably, and I greatly appreciate their professionalism, bravery and dedication,” Nixon said in a public statement. “As the Guard begins to scale back its operations, the Missouri State Highway Patrol will continue to work closely with local law enforcement agencies to protect lives and property in Ferguson and across the St. Louis region. My administration also remains committed to helping affected communities rebuild and recover, and building a safer, fairer and more united region for all.”