Missouri governor pardons gun-waving St. Louis lawyer couple

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Mark and Patricia McCloskey at their home during June 28, 2020, protest. The McCloskey’s on Nov. 6, 2020 sued over the dissemination of this image, alleging it was taken on their property (Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Tuesday announced that he made good on his promise to pardon a couple who gained notoriety for pointing guns at social justice demonstrators as they marched past the couple’s home in a luxury St. Louis enclave last year.

Parson, a Republican, on Friday, pardoned Mark McCloskey, who pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and was fined $750, and Patricia McCloskey, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was fined $2,000.

The McCloskeys, both lawyers in their 60s, said they felt threatened by the protesters, who were passing their home in June 2020 on their way to demonstrate in front of the mayor’s house nearby in one of the hundreds of similar demonstrations around the country after George Floyd’s death. The couple also said the group was trespassing on a private street.

FILE – In this June 28, 2020 file photo, armed homeowners Mark and Patricia McCloskey, standing in front of their house confront protesters marching to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house in the Central West End of St. Louis. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has made good on his promise to pardon the couple. The Republican governor announced Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, that he pardoned the McCloskeys, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in June. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)

Mark McCloskey emerged from his home with an AR-15-style rifle, and Patricia McCloskey waved a semiautomatic pistol, according to the indictment. Photos and cellphone video captured the confrontation, which drew widespread attention and made the couple heroes to some and villains to others. No shots were fired and no one was hurt.

Special prosecutor Richard Callahan said his investigation determined that the protesters were peaceful.

“There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realized they had ventured onto a private enclave,” Callahan said in a news release after the McCloskeys pleaded guilty.

Mark McCloskey, who announced in May that he was running for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri, was unapologetic after the plea hearing.

“I’d do it again,” he said from the courthouse steps in downtown St. Louis. “Any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family.”

Patricia McCloskey, left, and her husband Mark McCloskey leave a court in St. Louis, Thursday, June 17, 2021. The St. Louis couple who gained notoriety for pointing guns at social justice demonstrators last year has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor harassment and was fined $2,000. Her husband, Mark McCloskey, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and was fined $750. The couple also agreed to forfeit both weapons they used when they confronted protesters in front of their home in June of last year. (AP Photo/Jim Salter)

Because the charges were misdemeanors, the McCloskeys did not face the possibility of losing their law licenses or their rights to own firearms.

The McCloskeys were indicted by a grand jury in October on felony charges of the unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering. Callahan later amended the charges to give jurors the alternative of convictions of misdemeanor harassment instead of the weapons charge.

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