Last night, the Missouri attorney general raged over the “political lawsuits” of the St. Louis couple who face charges of wielding guns against Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home.
Republican Eric Schmitt said Mark and Patricia McCloskey were the victims of a “rogue prosecutor” who targeted them for “exercising their fundamental rights under the Second Amendment.”
The McCloskeys say they were defending themselves against an intruding “mob”, but Democratic County Prosecutor Kimberly Gardner said the June 28 protests were “non-violent” and “threateningly wielding weapons” was illegal.
Schmitt filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the couple’s behavior is “explicitly protected” by the Constitution and Missouri law.
The McCloskeys say they were defending themselves against a “mob” during the Black Lives Matter protests on June 28, but have been charged with the felony of unlawful use of a weapon.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (pictured) raged last night over ‘political lawsuits’ by Mark and Patricia McCloskey
Speaking to Fox News host Shannon Bream last night Schmitt said: “The truth is, this is nothing more than a political lawsuit brought by St. Louis District Attorney Kim Gardner.
“The right to self-defense is deeply rooted in our Constitution, it is a fundamental right, it actually predates our Constitution.
“At a time when there are calls for police deregistration, at a time when violent crime rates are skyrocketing, including here in Missouri and St. Louis, we have a prosecutor now targeting police officers. people who exercise their fundamental rights under the Second Amendment.
‘Enough is enough. The law is very clear, it is time as a state law enforcement official to take action. We go into the matter and we seek to have the matter closed.
“Not just for the McCloskeys, but for every Missourian whose rights are threatened by a rogue prosecutor who seeks to punish people for exercising their basic rights of self-defense. “
Asked why the incident had become so “divisive,” Schmitt said that “my focus is on the law and the law in Missouri is very clear.”
He cited allegations that protesters were shouting that they were going to kill them, kill their dog, set their house on fire “during the confrontation with the McCloskeys, both of whom are injury lawyers.
“Under Missouri law, you have the right to defend your castle, your home, and the lives of your family. It’s really not a tight call here, ”Schmitt said.
“This is a politically motivated prosecution by a prosecutor who is not interested in prosecuting violent crimes [and] has a terrible record.
“The situation is out of control and this prosecutor is spending precious resources to prosecute those who exercised a fundamental right. “
Mark McCloskey (pictured on Fox News Monday night) accused St. Louis Circuit District Attorney Kim Gardner of siding with “criminals” after he and his wife were charged with unlawfully using a weapon for showing weapons during a racial injustice demonstration on June 28.
Images of the row between the white couple and the protesters were circulated widely around the world last month amid global protests after the death of George Floyd.
Mr McCloskey, 63, carried an assault rifle, and his wife, 61, brandished a handgun as protesters marched down a private street towards the mayor’s residence. No shots were fired.
An attorney for the McCloskeys later said they supported Black Lives Matter’s message and did not want to become heroes for those who oppose the cause.
The felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon were announced last night, which could theoretically lead to a four-year prison sentence, although Gardner has said she was willing to recommend a “diversion program.” ” in place.
“It is against the law to threatenly wave weapons at those participating in non-violent protests, and while we are fortunate that this situation has not turned into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in Saint -Louis, ”she said.
“The decision to lay charges was made after a thorough investigation with the St Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
“I am open to recommending that the McCloskeys participate in one of my office’s diversion programs which are designed to reduce unnecessary involvement with the courts. I think that would be a fair solution to this issue.
“We must protect the right to peaceful protest, and any attempt to appease it through intimidation will not be tolerated. “
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who live in the St. Louis Forest Park area, brandished their guns at protesters walking past their mansion in their gated community
Mark and Patricia McCloskey (pictured) claimed protesters, who marched in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, were entering private property
The prosecutor’s decision was described as “outrageous” by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson in a tweet he wrote Monday
Appearing on Tucker Carlson this evening after the announcement, Mr McCloskey said the protesters had “puzzled” but none of them had been charged.
“The district attorney apparently decided that her job as a prosecutor was not to protect us from criminals, but to help protect criminals from us,” he said.
A lawyer for the couple, Joel Schwartz, said the decision to charge the couple was “disheartening as I unequivocally believe that no crime has been committed.”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, told a radio show last week that he would likely forgive the McCloskeys if indicted.
Donald Trump has also defended the couple and Parson says he spoke to the president about the case last week.
Senator Josh Hawley, also a Republican, urged Attorney General William Barr to initiate an investigation into Ms. Gardner’s civil rights.
However, Prosecutor Gardner said Trump, Parson and others were attacking him to distract from “their failed approach to the Covid-19 pandemic” and other issues.
The McCloskeys’ house was initially incidental to the June 28 protest.
Several hundred people were marching towards the home of Democratic Mayor Lyda Krewson, who angered activists by reading on Facebook Live the names and addresses of some who had called for the defounding of the police.
A police report said the couple heard a loud commotion and saw a large group of people smash an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs.
However, a leader of the protest said the door was open and the protesters had not damaged it.
Mr McCloskey confronted the protesters with a semi-automatic and pointed the gun at them, according to a statement from Officer Curtis Burgdorf.
The statement said Ms. McCloskey then went out with a semi-automatic handgun, shouting at the protesters to “go” and pointing the gun at them.
The protesters feared “to be injured because of Patricia McCloskey’s finger on the trigger, coupled with his excited behavior,” the statement said.