Why Missouri's Governor Pardoned Couple Who Pointed Guns At BLM Protesters — Making Them Republican Icons

Photo: YouTube / AP
Missouri Couple Point Guns At BLM Protesters

Missouri’s governor granted pardons to Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the couple who were recorded on video pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in June 2020.

The McCloskeys were caught on cell phone cameras waving their weapons — his an an AR-15-style rifle and hers a semiautomatic pistol — at a group of people determined by special prosecutor Richard Callahan to have been peacefully demonstrating as they passed the husband and wife's St. Louis mansion.

The couple, who are both personal injury lawyers in their 60s, live in the same gated community as Mayor Lyda Krewson, who who had publicly read the names and addresses of residents who'd written letters calling on her to defund the police.

As the protesters marched to the mayor's home to demand her resignation, the McCloskey's said at the time that they felt threatened by what they called an "angry mob" to the extent that they "feared for their lives."

Why were the McCloskeys pardoned by Missouri Governor Michael L. Parson?

Republican Gov. Mike Parson previously said he would pardon the couple.

Speaking with Sean Hannity last July, Parson stated his belief that the couple “did what they legally should do to protect themselves," a position he reaffirmed in October.

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In June 2021, the McCloskeys pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, as a result of which they were issued fines and ordered to forfeit the weapons used in the incident.

The couple were initially charged with unlawful use of a firearm and tampering with physical evidence, both of which are felonies, but, thanks to a plea deal, pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Speaking from the courthouse steps after the guilty plea, Mark McCloskey told reporters he would “do it again.”

“Any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family,” he said.

Prosecutors and protesters say the group did not realize they were on a private street during the demonstration and claimed the iron gate to the community was already open when they arrived.

The Closkeys claim the gate, marked "No Trespassing" and "Private Street," were broken down by the protesters.

From videos of the incident, when and how the gates were damaged remains unclear.

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Earlier this year, Mark Closkey announced plans to run for Senate as a Republican candidate in 2022.

The incident has made heros out of the couple in Republican circles. For many, the event serves as a symbol of the unequal treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters and those who take issue with the movement.

Shortly after the video went viral, the McCloskeys were interviewed by Fox’s Sean Hannity, who also brought Parson on the show to defend the couple’s actions.

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Last August, they were featured speakers on the opening night of the 2020 Republican National Convention, and their lawyer claims then-President Donald Trump was in contact with the pair “semi-frequently.”

The couple’s vindication among conservatives and their insistence that they were exercising their “rights” juxtaposes the language used when talking about Black Lives Matter protesters.

Trump’s tweeted praise for the McCloskey’s came after dozens of tweets from the president asking to identify Black Lives Matter protesters who he says were wanted in connection to “major crimes.”

While the McCloskey’s have been pardoned, over 14,000 BLM protesters were arrested during demonstrations between May-June 2020, and many face potentially life-altering felony charges, not to mention vilification amid the same circles that praise the McCloskeys.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.