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St. Louis couple indicted for waving guns at protesters

LOUIS (AP) — A grand jury on Tuesday indicted the St. Louis couple who
displayed guns while hundreds of racial injustice protesters marched on
their private street.

Al Watkins, an attorney for the couple,
confirmed to The Associated Press the indictments against Mark
McCloskey, 63, and Patricia McCloskey, 61. A spokeswoman for Circuit
Attorney Kim Gardner declined comment.

The McCloskeys, who are
both attorneys, have become folk heroes among some conservatives. They
argue that they were simply exercising their Second Amendment right to
bear arms, and were protected by Missouri’s castle doctrine law that
allows the use of deadly force against intruders. The case has caught
the attention of President Donald Trump, and Republican Missouri Gov.
Mike Parson has said he will pardon the couple if they are convicted.

McCloskeys also were featured speakers on the first night of the
Republican National Convention. They’ve accused the “leftist” Democratic
St. Louis leadership for their plight.

Gardner, a Democrat,
charged the couple with felony unlawful use of a weapon. She said the
display of guns risked bloodshed at what she called an otherwise
peaceful protest.

Watkins said that in addition to the weapons
charge, the grand jury indictment includes a tampering with evidence
charge. It wasn’t clear what led to that additional count, he said.

McCloskeys contend the protest was hardly peaceful. They say protesters
came onto the private street after knocking over an iron gate and
ignoring a “No Trespassing” sign, and said they felt threatened.

said accusations against the McCloskeys are “effectively demonstrating
the highest degree of ineptitude and inappropriate behavior” from
Gardner’s office.

The incident happened June 28 as protesters were
walking toward the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson, a few blocks away. They
suddenly decided to veer onto the McCloskeys’ street, prompting the
confrontation that was caught on cellphone video. It showed Mark
McCloskey in front of the $1.15 million home armed with an AR-15 rifle
and Patricia McCloskey with a semiautomatic handgun.

A police
probable cause statement said protesters feared “being injured due to
Patricia McCloskey’s finger being on the trigger, coupled with her
excited demeanor.”

Nine people involved in the protest were
charged with misdemeanor trespassing, but the city counselor’s office
later dropped the charges. The city counselor’s office handles lesser
crimes and is not affiliated with the circuit attorney’s office.

McCloskey, after a brief court hearing earlier Tuesday, expressed anger
that he and his wife faced criminal charges while those who trespassed
onto his property did not.

“Every single human being that was in
front of my house was a criminal trespasser,” McCloskey said. “They
broke down our gate. They trespassed on our property. Not a single one
of those people is now charged with anything. We’re charged with
felonies that could cost us four years of our lives and our law

The June protest in St. Louis was among hundreds nationwide in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.