ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - A joint committee on government accountability will meet this week to begin finding what went wrong when North County burned. On
November 24th, Guardsmen filled the streets of surprisingly quiet Clayton, but were nowhere to be found in North County. As Fox 2 recently revealed, 1,500 Guardsmen, which included a Quick Response Force, sat waiting for a call that didn't come until the next morning.
Missouri State Senator Eric Schmitt told us, "People who were watching from around the world, we were all asking those very same questions and hopefully we'll get chance to get those answers."
Senator Schmitt is part of the MO Joint Committee on Government Accountability, which hopes to get definitive answers, possibly by the end of this year. He added, "I want to find out what was the decision making process, who the Governor communicated with, was there communication with Washington D.C. about what the actions to protect us locally were."
Half of the 14 member committee comes from the St. Louis area. Along with Republican State Senator Schmitt are Democrat State Senators Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Jamilah Nasheed and Gina Walsh. On the House side are Republican Representatives Kathie Conway and John Diehl and Democrat Representative Rochelle Walton Gray.
The committee has some teeth, including subpoena power. It may begin calling people to testify in the next couple weeks.
Governor Jay Nixon still won't answer what Unified Command requested to protect North County after last month's Grand Jury decision. Fox 2 learned the plan changed when Ferguson's Police Chief did not resign. Governor Nixon avoided my repeated question. Here's an example when I asked "What's the answer to the yes or no question: Did St. Louis County's Police Chief ask for North County to be protected?" The Governor responded, "Well certainly we were all working together to make sure we were working together on the dual pillars."
Dual pillars means the balance of free speech and public safety. We still have no answer to the question of what Unified Commanders understood to be the plan.
I asked State Senator Schmitt, "Will you be able to get that answer." Schmitt responded, "I'm going to ask the question. Missourian's deserve an answer to that question and I can tell you from law enforcement folks that I know, men and women in uniform, firefighters, police officers that are on the ground, they want an answer to that."
This week's meeting will be more about procedure and which committee members will fill each role. Senator Schmitt thinks it could develop quickly with hearings happening as soon as the following week. He also hopes the committee will hold the hearings in St. Louis, rather than Jefferson City, so they can get the most relevant and impactful input.