Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is promising to seek the dismissal of charges against the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at protesters outside their house last month in an incident that was caught on video.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey were charged Tuesday with unlawful use of a weapon by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
“Enough is enough,” the attorney general said in a video message posted just hours after the charges were filed. “A political prosecution such as this one would have a chilling effect on Missourians exercising the right to self defense.”
Schmitt cited Missouri’s Castle Doctrine, which he said provides “broad rights to Missourians to protect and defend their personal safety and property against those who wish to do them harm.”
The attorney general added that Missouri should be focused on addressing the “crisis of violence” in the state’s cities rather than “divisive decisions not based on the law.” Schmitt has filed an amicus brief in the case defending the couple.
On June 28, the McCloskeys pointed guns at protesters after the crowd entered a private gated community on their way to St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson’s residence to demand her resignation.
The couple, both personal injury lawyers, stood outside their home on Portland Place, a private street, as hundreds of protesters, some of them armed, marched by and chanted. The McCloskeys had been inside their home when they heard loud activity outside and saw “a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs,” St. Louis police said.
“The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims,” the police said. “When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police.”
Police said they were investigating the incident to determine whether the protesters committed trespassing and fourth-degree assault by intimidation.
Albert Watkins, an attorney for the McCloskeys, said that the couple felt threatened after “two individuals exhibited such force and violence destroying a century-plus-old wrought iron gate, ripping and twisting the wrought iron that was connected to a rock foundation, and then proceeded to charge at and toward and speak threateningly to Mr. and Mrs. McCloskey.”
“We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation will not be tolerated,” Gardner said in filing the charges against the couple.
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