The St. Louis couple who held off a mob of Black Lives Matter protesters by brandishing guns were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday on multiple felony charges in connection to the June incident.
“What you are witnessing here is just an opportunity for the government, the leftist, democrat government of the City of St. Louis to persecute us for doing no more than exercising our Second Amendment rights,” Mark McCloskey said in response.
Mark McCloskey also expressed his frustration that the protesters had not been charged in the June 28 incident.
“They broke down our gate, they trespassed on our property. Not a single one of those people are now charged with anything,” he said.
“We’re charged with felonies that could cost us four years of our lives and our law license.”
St. Louis police cited nine protesters for alleged trespassing in connection with the protest last month. They were charged with misdemeanor trespassing, but the city counselor’s office opted to drop the charges.
The McCloskeys became controversial figures in June after video footage showed them holding their weapons as a crowd of protesters that was headed toward the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson ended up in front of the couple’s house.
Mark McCloskey, 63, carried an AR-15 rifle, while Patricia McCloskey, 61, held a handgun. No shots were fired.
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The couple has maintained they were protecting themselves and their property from the protesters.
According to the McCloskeys, protesters broke through an iron gate and screamed threats of arson and rape at them, Fox News reported. Protest leaders said the march was peaceful and that demonstrators did not make any threats.
The tampering charges were added to the original felony charges of exhibiting weapons after Patricia McCloskey’s pistol was turned over to police by one of the couple’s attorneys, Al Watkins, according to KMOV.
“That gun, Watkins said, had been rendered inoperable but a report obtained by News 4 from the St Louis Police Crime Lab showed that a prosecutor had instructed the examiners to re-assemble it correctly,” the outlet reported.
“Hate to say it, but the state has a lot of problems with this one,” Watkins told Fox News. “And they transcend not just the evidence, but they actually are remarkably problematic from the standpoint of prosecutorial misconduct.”
Under Missouri law, in order for a person to face a charge of felony unlawful use of a weapon, the gun would need to be readily operable.
Another of the McCloskeys’ attorneys, Joel Schwartz, told KMOV he wasn’t surprised by the indictment.
“Once all the facts are out, it will be clear the McCloskeys committed no crime whatsoever,” Schwartz said.
“Frankly because the grand jury is not an adversarial process and defense counsel are not allowed in there and I have no idea what was stated to the grand jury and what law was given to the grand jury.”
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