Missouri governor pardons couple who pointed guns at racial justice activists
The governor of Missouri has made good on his promise to pardon Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who gained notoriety for pointing guns at a group of demonstrators who marched past the couple’s home in a luxury St Louis neighborhood during racial justice protests last year.
Mike Parson, a Republican, announced on Tuesday that he had pardoned Mark McCloskey, who pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and was fined $750, and Patricia McCloskey, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was fined $2,000.
The McCloskeys, both lawyers in their 60s, said they felt threatened by the protesters, who were passing their home in June 2020 on their way to demonstrate in front of the mayor’s house nearby in one of hundreds of similar demonstrations around the country after George Floyd’s death. The couple also said the group was trespassing on a private street.
Mark McCloskey emerged from his home with an AR-15-style rifle, and Patricia McCloskey waved a semiautomatic pistol, according to the indictment. Photos and cellphone video captured the confrontation, which drew widespread attention and made the couple heroes to some and villains to others. No shots were fired and no one was hurt.
The special prosecutor Richard Callahan said his investigation determined that the protesters were peaceful.
“There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realized they had ventured on to a private enclave,” Callahan said in a news release after the McCloskeys pleaded guilty.
Mark McCloskey, who announced in May that he was running for a US Senate seat in Missouri, was unapologetic after the plea hearing.
“I’d do it again,” he said from the courthouse steps in downtown St Louis. “Any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family.”
Because the charges were misdemeanors, the McCloskeys did not face the possibility of losing their law licenses or their rights to own firearms.
The McCloskeys were indicted by a grand jury in October on felony charges of the unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering. Callahan later amended the charges to give jurors the alternative of convictions of misdemeanor harassment instead of the weapons charge.