During a brief hearing on Wednesday, a St. Louis couple that was arrested for waving guns at protesters marching on their private street pleaded not guilty to two felony charges. Last week, Mark and Patricia McCloskey were indicted on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence.
“Every single human being that was in front of my house was a criminal trespasser,” McCloskey said. “They broke down our gate. They trespassed on our property. Not a single one of those people is now charged with anything. We’re charged with felonies that could cost us four years of our lives and our law licenses.”
Reports state that Kim Gardner, a St. Louis Circuit Attorney, had originally filed the weapons charge in the summer, then the grand jury added the evidence tampering charge.
“Leftist” Democrats in the city are to blame for their circumstances, says the McCloskeys. Since the incident, the married attorneys have gained support among several republicans and conservatives, including Donald Trump. In fact, according to the couple’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, Trump has shown great interest in their case.
“They have spoken with the president,” Schwartz said after the hearing. “The president contacts them semi-frequently.”
Like Trump, the governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, has also decided to stand behind the McCloskeys as they face a pair of felony charges. He says that the couple had a right to defend their home, and if they are convicted, he will pardon them.
The incident in question occurred on June 28, during the heart of a global protest against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. When hundreds of protestors marched towards St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home, they deviated onto a private street comprised of million-dollar homes. Among those homeowners were the McCloskeys.
The couple states that the protestors broke down an iron gate and ignored a “No Trespassing” sign. However, the leaders of the protest say they did not damage the gate.
In response to the presence of protestors, Mark came outside of his home armed with an AR-15 rifle, while his wife Patricia held a semiautomatic handgun.
Footage recovered from the scene captured the encounter between protestors and the McCloskeys. The couple stated that they were armed because they felt threatened, but protest leaders maintain that their demonstration was peaceful.