White couple charged with pointing guns at protesters


A WHITE couple have been charged with unlawful use of a weapon after they pointed guns at anti-racism protesters.

Mark, 63, and Patricia McCloskey, 61, aimed their firearms at demonstrators as they passed their home in St Louis, Missouri last month.

The pair, both personal injury lawyers, said they pointed their weapons at the passersby because they felt threatened.

Video footage of the couple went viral and prompted an investigation.

St Louis circuit attorney Kimberly M Gardner, whose office filed charges against the McCloskey’s said the decision to do so was made after a thorough investigation.

“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.”

Gardner, the first African American person to hold the position of circuit attorney in the city, added: “We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation will not be tolerated.”

The charge filed against the McCloskeys carries a possible prison sentence of up to four years. Gardner said she was seeking for them to avoid the courts by taking part in a diversion programme, similar to undertaking community service.

Missouri governor Mike Parson said he would “without a doubt” use his powers to pardon the McCloskeys.

The decision to file charges against the couple has also been opposed by Missouri’s attorney general Eric Schmitt.

On Monday he filed a motion to have the charges against Mr and Mrs McCloskey dismissed.

In a statement Schmitt said: “The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine. This provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm.”

He added: “Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed charges against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety. As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored – that’s why I entered this case to seek its dismissal, to protect the rights of Missourians to defend their property under Missouri’s Castle Doctrine.”