Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is calling for a federal civil rights investigation into St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s targeting of a Missouri family for defending themselves and their property with guns when an angry mob of protestors threatened them in late June.
Hawley sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr Thursday urging him to conduct an investigation into Gardner’s handling of the McCloskey case and whether she abused her power in seizing the family’s guns, investigating them, and pursuing a possible indictment.
“Unfortunately, this family is facing new threats, not from demonstrators but from the local government. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is now threatening to prosecute not the trespassers, but the McCloskeys, and she is using the powers of her office to target them,” Hawley wrote.
“Her office has seized their firearms, and police have applied for warrants in the case, with an indictment believed to be imminent,” he added.
On June 28, Mr. and Mrs. McCloskey were eating on their back porch when dozens of people entered their private neighborhood through a gate marked “Private Street.” Photos later showed the wrought iron gate damaged.
The McCloskeys grabbed firearms and stood outside their home, urging the group to keep going and not stop. As they did, some of the group shouted threats at them.
A police summary of the incident obtained by The Epoch Times said: “The victims stated they were on their property when they heard a loud commotion coming from the street. When the victims went to investigate the commotion, they observed a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs.”
“Once through the gate, the victims advised the group that they were on a private street and trespassing and told them to leave. The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims. When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police,” it said.
The Missouri lawmaker is calling the move from Gardner an “abuse” of her authority.
“This is an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment, and I urge you to consider a federal civil rights investigation into the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office to determine whether this investigation and impending prosecution violate this family’s constitutional rights,” Hawley writes (pdf).
Hawley tells Barr that the investigation into the McCloskeys appears to be politically motivated since the couple did to break any laws and were only exercising their second amendment rights.
“There is no question under Missouri law that the McCloskeys had the right to own and use their firearms to protect themselves from threatened violence, and that any criminal prosecution for these actions is legally unsound,” Hawley continued.
The McCloskeys said in a statement released through their lawyer that they believe they acted lawfully because they remained on their property.
Hawley closed the letter by writing: “The Second Amendment is not a second-class right. No family should face the threat of harassment or malicious prosecution for exercising that right. The Department of Justice must ensure that all Americans’ rights are protected from this kind of abuse of power.”