Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple from St. Louis, Missouri, who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters near their residence, were reported to have been indicted by a grand jury on firearm charges on Tuesday.
The couple, both personal injury lawyers, were indicted with charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence, according to Al Watkins, a former attorney to the couple, who confirmed the indictments to The Associated Press.
Watkins said that the accusations against the McCloskeys “effectively [demonstrate] the highest degree of ineptitude and inappropriate behavior” from Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office. A spokeswoman for Gardner declined to comment.
Gardner, a Democrat, in July charged the couple with felony unlawful use of a weapon. She said that the charges came after a “thorough investigation” with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and that it is “illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest.”
Watkins said on Tuesday that it wasn’t clear what led to the additional tampering with evidence charge.
The charges relate to a June 28 incident when the McCloskeys brandished guns in self defense at BLM protesters outside their home. The couple said shortly after the incident that they were in fear for their lives and also released a statement saying that their actions “were borne solely of fear and apprehension.”
The couple’s attorney Joel Schwartz told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday that his clients had been indicted on the charges. He also said that he plans to request a transcript or recording of the proceedings if they are available.
An unnamed St. Louis court clerk said the indictment has been filed but she was not authorized to produce the document, reported the outlet.
Schwartz told KMOV that he wasn’t surprised by the indictment and that the grand jury didn’t have all the facts. “Once all the facts are out, it will be clear the McCloskeys committed no crime whatsoever,” he said.
A St. Louis judge earlier on Tuesday postponed the McCloskeys’ hearing until Oct. 14.
After a brief court hearing at the St. Louis Circuit Court Tuesday, Mark McCloskey expressed anger that he and his wife faced criminal charges while those who trespassed onto his property did not.
“What you’re witnessing here in this case is just an opportunity for the government—the leftist Democrat government of the city of St. Louis to persecute us for doing no more than exercising our Second Amendment rights,” Mark McCloskey said.
“Every single human being that was in front of my house was a criminal trespasser. 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 4 years of our lives and our law licenses.”
“There’s no doubt about it—the government chooses to persecute us for doing no more than exercising our right to defend ourselves, our home, our property, and our family,” he added. “We didn’t fire a shot. People who were violently protesting in front of our house and were screaming death threats and threats of arson—nobody gets charged, but we get charged.”
Nine Black Lives Matter protesters who were involved in the June 28 incident were initially arrested and charged with misdemeanor trespassing, but on Sept. 29, the city counselor’s office dropped the charges. The city counselor’s office handles lesser crimes and is not affiliated with the circuit attorney’s office.
The incident outside the McCloskeys’ house was sparked when a large crowd of protesters were making their way toward the home of Democratic St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, who lives in the same neighborhood, to demand that she resign. The protesters were upset that Krewson had publicly read the names and addresses of activists who submitted complaints to entirely defund the city’s police department.
But the crowd suddenly decided to veer onto the McCloskeys’ private neighborhood a few blocks away from Krewson’s home. Pictures later showed the wrought iron gate to the neighborhood, marked “Private Street,” damaged.
The McCloskeys grabbed firearms and stood outside their home, urging the group to keep going and not stop. The confrontation was captured on video, showing Mark holding an AR-15 rifle and Patricia holding a semiautomatic handgun as they gestured for the protesters to leave the area.
President Condemned Effort to Prosecute
President Donald Trump in July said that the effort to charge the couple with a crime was “a disgrace,” and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump believed “it is absolutely absurd what is happening to the McCloskeys” and that the situation was “an extreme abuse of power by the prosecutor.”
McEnany at the time noted that there have been many cases brought to Gardner’s attention regarding violent rioters that Gardner had failed to charge.
“But instead she’s charging the individuals who were defending themselves from violent protesters,” McEnany said. “And you have Patricia McCloskey who said that they were telling her they were going to kill them, these protesters, at the moment they were waving their guns to protect themselves.”
The McCloskeys voiced their support for Trump at the 2020 Republican National Convention in late August where they spoke in support of the Second Amendment—to keep and bear arms—while warning of the potential threat to that freedom posed by Democrats.
A police summary of the incident obtained by The Epoch Times in late June stated: “The victims stated they were on their property when they heard a loud commotion coming from the street. When the victims went to investigate the commotion, they observed a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs.
“Once through the gate, the victims advised the group that they were on a private street and trespassing and told them to leave. The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims. When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.