According to the Associated Press, St. Louis’ top prosecutor announced that she is charging the husband and wife who defended their St. Louis property with felony unlawful use of a weapon for displaying guns during a racial injustice protest outside their mansion.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who are both personal injury attorneys in their 60s. They also face a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree assault. Gardner said in an interview with the AP that the McCloskeys’ actions “risked creating a violent situation during an otherwise nonviolent protest.” So now it is a felony to rightfully utilize your Second Amendment right?
A husband and wife will be charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon for displaying guns during a racial injustice protest outside their mansion in St. Louis, the city's top prosecutor says. Supporters say the couple were legally defending their home. https://t.co/TBIBoPtb2C
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 20, 2020
In contrast to what the viral video footage of the incident shows, Gardner claims, “It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis.” An attorney for the couple, Joel Schwartz, called the decision to charge “disheartening as I unequivocally believe no crime was committed,” in a statement. Supporters of the McCloskeys said they were legally defending their $1.15 million home.
“I, along with my clients, support the First Amendment right of every citizen to have their voice and opinion heard.,” Schwartz said. “This right, however, must be balanced with the Second Amendment and Missouri law, which entitle each of us to protect our home and family from potential threats.”
The McCloskeys have said many times they were defending themselves, with tensions high in St. Louis and other cities over race and law enforcement. They said that the crowd of demonstrators broke an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs, and that some violently threatened them, according to Fox News.
The husband and wife told “Hannity” earlier this month they were preparing to sit down for dinner on their porch when “300 to 500 people” stormed their community gate and began marching toward them.
Gardner, St. Louis’ first Black circuit attorney, has been at odds with some in the St. Louis establishment since her election in 2016. Most notably, her office charged then-Gov. Eric Greitens with felony invasion of privacy in 2018 for allegedly taking a compromising photo of a woman during an extramarital affair. The charge was eventually dropped, but Greitens resigned in June 2018.
Gardner also has butted heads with police leaders, especially after she developed an “exclusion list” of more than two dozen officers who were barred from serving as primary witnesses in criminal cases over what Gardner called credibility concerns. Several Black leaders in St. Louis have expressed support for Gardner, including Democratic U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, who has said protesters “should never be subject to the threat of deadly force, whether by individuals or by the police.”