ST. LOUIS – Mark and Patricia McCloskey were each charged with unlawful use of a weapon Monday.
The allegations stem from a clash the couple had with people outside their home last month. During the incident Mark brandished a military-style rifle while Patricia pointed a handgun at a group that was reportedly on its way to protest outside the home of the mayor.
The McCloskey’s claim people in the group broke through an iron gate that is part of a private drive and cut through their property and that they were threatened. Mark McCloskey said one person in the group was armed and displayed two loaded magazines and told him, “you’re next.”
The charges were filed even though Missouri is a “stand your ground” state, meaning citizens have a right to use a firearm to protect themselves and their property.
Regardless, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who called the incident part of a “peaceful protest,” told The Associated Press that the McCloskeys, who are both civil rights lawyers, committed Class E felonies.
“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner,” Gardner, a Democrat, said. “That unlawful in the city of St. Louis,”
The McCloskey’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, called the decision to charge his clients “disheartening.” And while Gardner is recommending a diversion program instead of jail, some say the charges will eventually be dropped or the couple will be pardoned by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) if they’re convicted.
A message to Parson’s office was not returned by press time.