Updated Jul 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

St. Louis prosecutor charges white couple for pulling guns on protesters

McCloskeys waving guns
Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP File

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced on Monday that she has charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey with felony unlawful use of a weapon after the couple pulled guns on anti-racism protesters outside of their mansion.

The big picture: Photos of the McCloskeys, both personal injury attorneys in their 60s, went viral last month and have stirred a fiery partisan debate on social media. Missouri's Republican Gov. Mike Parson told Fox News Monday "without a doubt" he would pardon the couple and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has called on the Justice Department to open a civil rights investigation into Gardner.

  • The incident has even prompted a response from President Trump, who said that any attempt to prosecute the couple would be a "disgrace" and suggested, without evidence, that the protesters were going to attack them and burn down their house.
  • The McCloskeys participated in an official Trump campaign virtual event last week and have appeared on Fox News.

What they're saying:

"It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis.
The decision to issue charges was made after a thorough investigation with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
I am open to recommending the McCloskeys participate in one of my office’s diversion programs that are designed to reduce unnecessary involvement with the courts. I believe this would serve as a fair resolution to this matter."
— St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to reflect that Sen. Josh Hawley is a Republican senator (not a Democratic senator).

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