Progressive St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said Monday she’s charging the now infamous couple who brandished weapons to ward off the violent protestors that were marching through their neighborhood.
Gardner, the city’s top prosecutor, said the couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey will be charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon following the June 28 incident.
“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis,” Gardner claimed in a statement.
Last week, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley urged Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate Gardner over her decision to investigate the couple, saying the prosecutor has been hostile to gun rights in the past.
“This is an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment, and I urge you to consider a federal civil rights investigation,” Hawley wrote in a letter to Barr. “No family should face the threat of harassment or malicious prosecution for exercising that right.”
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.
The couple’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, issued a statement calling the charges “disheartening.”
“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.”
“[They said] that they were going to kill us,” Patricia McCloskey recalled during a recent interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“They were going to come in there. They were going to burn down the house. They were going to be living in our house after I was dead, and they were pointing to different rooms and said, ‘That’s going to be my bedroom and that’s going to be the living room and I’m going to be taking a shower in that room.'”
In response to Gardner’s decision to charge the couple, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt moved on Monday to dismiss the charges against the McCloskey’s, saying their Second Amendment rights have been violated.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a brief that would dismiss the charges. The brief stated that Schmitt “respectfully requests that the Court dismiss this case at the earlier possible opportunity.”
“The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine, which provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm,” Schmitt said.
He continued, “Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed suit against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety. As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored.”
Missouri’s Republican Gov. Mike Parson said Friday that he would consider pardoning the couple should they be criminally charged.
“A mob does not have the right to charge your property,” Parson told 97.1 FM. “They had every right to protect themselves.”