The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department issued summonses to nine of the protesters who trespassed onto a private street in June near the home of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who drew national attention after standing outside their home and bearing firearms to defend themselves.
The St. Louis City Counselor’s office is still deciding whether to add formal charges on top of the summonses, police spokesperson Evita Caldwell told The Associated Press.
The McCloskeys fueled a national debate over the right to bear arms after footage of them pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters went viral online. Mark McCloskey held an AR-15 rifle. Patricia McCloskey held a handgun. They have since been charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson called the charges “outrageous” and said he would “without a doubt” pardon the couple if they are convicted.
Protesters entered the private street through a gate which they say was opened. The McCloskeys says the crowd broke through. At least 300 people gathered for the protest.
The Rev. Darryl Gray, who led the event and did not receive a summons, claimed that the summonses are an act of intimidation.
“We’re not going to be threatened, and that’s what’s happening across this country,” Gray told the AP.
“You’ve got local governments and states who are trying to charge protesters, financially charge them, wanting them to pay costs,” he added. “You’ve got others who want to make it a law against exercising our First Amendment right.”
One protester, Ohun Ashe, said on Sept. 4 that she received a summons.
“I was just sent a summons to appear in court for ‘trespassing on private property’ on Portland Pl aka the street Patricia and Mark McCloskey live on. I had a gun waved in my face by them but trespassing is what matters?” Ashe wrote on Twitter.
The McCloskeys spoke at the Republican National Convention last month and warned about violent protests spreading across the nation if Democrats win the election.
“These radicals are not content with marching in the streets,” Mark McCloskey said. “They want to walk the halls of Congress. They want to take over. They want power.”
“When we don’t have basic safety and security in our communities, we will never be free to build a brighter future for ourselves, for our children, and for our country,” Patricia McCloskey said. “That’s what’s at stake in this election. And that’s why we must reelect Donald Trump.”
Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.