Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who opened fire on protesters, are pardoned
A St. Louis couple, who shot to fame last year after they were filmed pointing guns at Social Justice protesters in front of their home, were pardoned last week by Governor Mike Parson.
Mr Parson’s decision, made last week and announced in a news release on Tuesday, comes more than a month after the couple, Patricia and Mark McCloskey, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges over the confrontation.
Mr Parson, a Republican, promised to pardon the couple in an interview with KFTK last year.
Mark McCloskey, who is running for a US Senate seat from Missouri, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and was fined $750. Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was fined $2,000.
As part of a plea deal, Ms McCloskey drops a Brico handgun during a confrontation on June 28, 2020, when protesters, many of whom were black, marched on a private street in front of McCloskey’s home. The home of former Mayor Lydia Cruson, a Democrat, who lived nearby.
Ms Cravson had angered local residents after going on Facebook Live and reading the names and addresses of people she said police should be defamed in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.
Mr McCloskey agreed to relinquish ownership of the weapon he used, the AR-15 rifle. Neither faced jail time under the plea deal.
McCloskey said he felt he was in imminent danger from protesters. Images of the couple pointing their weapons at demonstrators were widely circulated, drawing national attention as protesters across the country demanded social justice and an end to police brutality in the wake of Mr Floyd’s killing.
McCloskey’s attorney Joel J. Schwartz said on Tuesday night that his client was “thrilled and eager to put it behind him,” adding that Mr McCloskey “feels right in his actions.”
Mr Parson’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday evening.
Mr McCloskey agreed with prosecutors earlier this year that he put protesters in danger. “That’s what the guns were about,” he said, “and I’ll do it again whenever the crowd comes to me.”
A day after the protest, President Donald J. Trump retweeted a video of a couple gunning down. Last August, the couple spoke at the Republican National Convention.
Republicans and conservatives rallied in defense of the couple.
Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, said the case against McCloskey was “a politically motivated attempt to punish this family for exercising their Second Amendment rights.” Mr Trump said prosecuting the couple was “outrageous”.
Meditation helped bring Mr. McCloskey into politics. He announced in May that he would run as a Republican for the Senate seat currently held by another Republican, Roy Blunt, who had previously announced that he would not run for re-election next year.
Mr. Parson has brought his state to the front lines of a culture war over Second Amendment gun rights. He backed a new law passed last month that threatens a $50,000 fine against any local police agency that enforces certain federal gun laws and regulations.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt said of the law, “We will fight any attempt by the federal government to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
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