Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says he is prepared to exercise his pardon powers if prosecutors bring criminal charges in the case of a St. Louis couple who brandished firearms at a group of protesters outside their home.
Parson, a Republican, told a St. Louis radio station Friday that he thinks a pardon is “exactly what would happen” if Mark and Patricia McCloskey are hit with charges in the June 28 incident captured on video and seen by millions.
He later added that based on what he knows about the case, “I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail.”
The McCloskeys, who are both attorneys, displayed guns as Black Lives Matter protesters walked onto the private street where they live. The protesters were headed to the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
State prosecutor Kim Gardner launched an investigation, saying, “we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights.” St. Louis police seized a rifle from the couple’s home pursuant to a search warrant.
Parson told 97.1 FM the McCloskeys “did what they legally should do,” according to The Hill newspaper.
“A mob does not have the right to charge your property,” he said, according to the paper. “They had every right to protect themselves.”
Parson linked to the interview on Twitter and added the comment, “We will not allow law-abiding citizens to be targeted for exercising their constitutional rights.”
Gardner has not disclosed whether she intends to file charges, but several leading Republicans — including President Trump, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Parson — have criticized her for even deciding to investigate the couple. Parson cited Missouri’s “castle doctrine” law that justifies lethal force for those protecting their homes. Hawley is seeking a US Department of Justice investigation of Gardner.
A spokeswoman for Gardner declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
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