“I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protestors were met by guns,” St. Louis Prosecutor Kimberly Gardner said, noting there was also a “violent assault” in a separate incident in the city.
“We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated,” she wrote, adding that her office was “currently working with the public and police to investigate these events.”
“Make no mistake: we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights, and will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable,” Gardner said.
Her office told the St. Louis American that the lawyers, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, will be investigated. Mark was seen brandishing what appears to be an AR-15-style rifle while Patricia appeared to have a small pistol, while both were telling the demonstrators and other unknown individuals that they were trespassing.
A lawyer for the McCloskeys said that his clients are “melanin-deficient human beings,” who “are completely respectful of the message Black Lives Matter needs to get out, especially to whites,” The McCloskeys “acted lawfully” out of “fear and apprehension, the genesis of which was not race-related,” according to a statement sent out to news outlets.
Mark McCloskey said in an interview that they grabbed the weapons after being in “fear of our lives,” and he compared it to “storming the Bastille,” referring to the French Revolution incident in 1789 where throngs of commoners entered the Bastille fortress before cutting off the head of a local official.
The couple told outlets that they only grabbed the weapons after seeing several people in the crowd of protesters who were armed.
According to Missouri state law, a citizen is committing a crime if they “exhibit, in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner,” according to the St. Louis American.
“Their actions were borne solely of fear and apprehension, the genesis of which was not race-related. In fact, the agitators responsible for the trepidation were white,” their lawyer, Albert Watkins, told news outlets.
He added: “Bad things were said. They weren’t the message of Black Lives Matter. They were threats. They were hostile…my clients weren’t there with guns. (Mark McCloskey) went in and got his guns…these two people have spent a career serving and addressing the civil rights needs of people of color. (They) were not frightened of peaceful protesters.”
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, at the same time, is investigating the unknown people in the crowd for intimidation and trespassing.
The lawyers were home when they “a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs,” police said.
“The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims,” police wrote. “When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police.”
McCloskey said his family was having dinner when the protesters broke down the gates, adding that no trespassing signs were there.
“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 of our lives,” McCloskey told KMOV. “This is all private property. There are no public sidewalks or public streets. We were told that we would be killed, our home burned and our dog killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob.”
From The Epoch Times