Viral St. Louis couple indicted for waving guns at BLM protesters
A St. Louis grand jury on Tuesday indicted Mark and Patricia McCloskey for the now-infamous June incident where they pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home.
The McCloskeys, both personal injury attorneys, were in court earlier Tuesday, for a brief hearing where a judge announced their case was continued until Oct. 14, saying the grand jury needed more time to deliberate.
A short time later, local outlets reported that an indictment had been returned on charges of exhibiting guns and tampering with evidence.
Al Watkins, an attorney for the couple, confirmed the indictments to The Associated Press. A spokeswoman for Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner declined comment.
Another attorney for the couple, Joel Schwartz, told The Post on Tuesday evening that his clients will “plead not guilty and fight these charges.”
The McCloskeys shot to viral fame on June 28, when they were caught on camera brandishing firearms — he an assault rifle, she a handgun — at BLM demonstrators making a scene near their home amid nationwide unrest sparked by the Minneapolis death of George Floyd.
Mark McCloskey has accused the protesters of trespassing onto private property, and said that he feared a “storming of the Bastille” and insisted that he was a victim “of terrorism.”
He and his wife argue that they were simply exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms, and were protected by Missouri law allowing the use of deadly force against intruders.
The encounter made the McCloskeys champions of pro-gun groups and drew the attention of President Trump, earning them a spot at the Republican National Convention.
Gardner, a Democrat, had previously charged them with unlawful use of a weapon, a felony which can carry a sentence of up to four years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
In addition to the weapons charge, the grand jury indictment includes a tampering with evidence charge. It wasn’t clear what led to that additional count, Watkins said.
Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has said he will pardon the couple if they are convicted.
Outside court on Tuesday, the couple griped that no protesters were punished in the incident.
“They broke down our gate, they trespassed on our property. Not a single one of those people are now charged with anything,” Mark McCloskey said. “We’re charged with felonies that could cost us four years of our lives and our law license.”
Nine protesters were charged with trespassing, but the city counselor’s office later dropped the charges.
The decision not to prosecute shows the government has chosen to protect “criminals from honest citizens,” McCloskey said.
With Post wires
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