*The St. Louis couple that went viral after footage showed them pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home have been hit with criminal charges over the incident.
Personal injury attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey face charges of felony unlawful use of a weapon and fourth-degree assault, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, told The Associated Press.
“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis,” Gardner said.
The couple told local CBS affiliate KMOV that they were “in fear for our lives” on June 28, after seeing demonstrators walking by their home in the gated community of Portland Place.
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1/ Statement from Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner – Today my office filed charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey following an incident involving peaceful, unarmed protesters on June 28th. Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/zPucQ3MHs5
— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) July 20, 2020
The protesters were on their way to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson (D), calling on her to resign after she revealed the personal information of activists on a livestream.
“It was like the storming of the Bastille, the gate came down and a large crowd of angry, aggressive people poured through. I was terrified that we’d be murdered within seconds. Our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed,” Mark McCloskey told the station.
“A mob of at least 100 smashed through the historic wrought iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed towards my home where my family was having dinner outside and put us in fear for our lives,” hesaid. Mark also claims to have received a death threat from one protester.
An attorney representing the couple, Albert Watkins, said the McCloskeys’ actions were not “race related,” adding, “In fact, the agitators responsible for the trepidation were white.”
“The Black Lives Matters movement is here to stay, it is the right message, and it is about time,” Watkins continued in the statement to KMOV. “The McCloskeys want to make sure no one thinks less of BLM, its message and the means it is employing to get its message out because of the actions of a few white individuals who tarnished a peaceful protest.”
If convicted, the couple could face up to four years in prison but Gardner is recommending community service.
Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he will likely pardon the McCloskeys if they’re convicted.
“I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail,” Parson said, noting that a pardon is “exactly what would happen” should they be convicted.