St. Louis officials said Tuesday that they will not prosecute nine Black Lives Matter protesters who were arrested and charged with trespassing on the private property of a gun-wielding couple.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey fueled a national debate over the right to bear arms on June 28 after footage of them pointing their guns at dozens of BLM protesters who had entered their private street went viral. The protesters were on their way to protest at the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
During the confrontation, Mark was seen carrying an AR-15 rifle, while his wife held a semiautomatic handgun—both of which were pointed at protestors. The couple face one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. Charging documents say they pointed the guns at protesters, placing the demonstrators in fear of injury.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, called the charges “outrageous” and said he would “without a doubt” pardon the couple if they are convicted.
Deputy city counselor Michael Garvin said in a statement to St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week that “prosecution is not warranted” against the nine protestors and that charges would be refused.
Garvin said that the cases had been investigated by municipal court prosecutors, who reviewed video of the June incident, conducted interviews, and examined property records of the street, Portland Place. He also said residents who are trustees of Portland Place made clear through their lawyer that they did not want to pursue trespassing charges.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey’s lawyer, Joel Schwartz, told the outlet that the decision to drop the charges doesn’t mean the demonstrators were not trespassing.
“It was clearly trespassing and the McCloskeys were clearly within their rights to do what they did,” he said.
A spokesman for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, a Democrat, told The Epoch Times that her office “isn’t involved” with the decision.