Missouri governor pardons couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter demonstrators

A lawyer for McCloskeys said pardon ‘vindicates’ their conduct

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 04 August 2021 02:50
St Louis couple 'had every right' to defend property, says Missouri governor

The governor of Missouri has pardoned a couple who were famously recorded pointing guns from the front of their luxury home at a group of passing Black Lives Matter protestors last summer.

On Tuesday, governor Mike Parson, a Republican, announced the pardon of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pled guilty, respectively, to misdemeanor assault and harassment in June. The couple brandished an assault rifle and a semi-automatic pistol as a group of racial justice protestors walked by their home on their way to a protest last summer.

“Mark McCloskey has publicly stated that if he were involved in the same situation, he would have the exact same conduct,” Joel Schwartz, the couple’s attorney, said on Tuesday. “He believes that the pardon vindicates that conduct.”

The couple, wealthy lawyers who live in a palazzo-style mansion on a private street in St Louis, said they both felt threatened by the demonstrators, who were on their way to the mayor’s house nearby.

“There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realised they had ventured onto a private enclave,” special prosecutor Richard Callahan said of the protestors earlier this year.

No shots were fired and no one was hurt, but the incident did catapult the McCloskeys to social media infamy, viewed by some as the caricature of a white, wealthy reactionaries, while their gun-toting antics won them a level of celebrity in right-wing circles.

In May, Mark McCloskey announced he was running as a Republican for the US Senate. He’s remained unrepentant about the incident.

“I’d do it again,” he said from the courthouse steps following his and his wife’s guilty pleas.

“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.”

In one of his campaign ads, he promised he would do the same thing “again and again and again”.

The outspoken personal injury lawyer is running for the seat that will be left vacant by the GOP’s Roy Blunt, who is retiring from the Senate next year.

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