Sunday evening, hundreds of protesters gathered to march through the streets of St.Louis as a result of the recent death of George Flyod and the black lives matter movement. The protesters broke open a gate in a private neighborhood and began to move through properties. The protesters however, were met by a pair of personal injury attorneys brandishing their firearms at the protesters.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, stood on their porch and shouted at the protesters to leave the premises. Later, the attorneys went onto the local news, KMOV, and explained they feared for their lives. “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,” Mark McCloskey explained to KMOV.
Since Sunday, this incident has reached national news and has gone viral sparking many debates. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has stated her office is investigating the incident and is referring to the incident as a matter of First Amendment violation.Gardner stated, “I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protesters were met by guns and a violent assault. 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.”
What is coming into question is if the McCoskey’s had a right to pull out firearms and point them at the protesters. Their lawyer states that they were exercising their right to bear arms and protect their property. “If you look at the faces of Mr. and Mrs. McCloskey, those are not faces whose expressions are one of disgust or one of peaceful protesters….These are faces of people who are in fear.” Where others state the weapons were not needed and could have caused a lot of damage if fired.
Many are calling for the McCoskey’s licenses to be revoked and are receiving a ton of backlash on their firm’s webpage. The husband and wife have each been charged with a single felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. The documents charging the state he pointed an AR-15 rifle at protesters and she wielded a semiautomatic handgun, placing protesters in fear of injury. In a statement, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner said,“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis.”
The Missouri attorney general has already stated he will seek the dismissal of the charges on the couple. A defense lawyer named Joel Schwartz issued a statement, calling the charges “disheartening as I unequivocally believe no crime was committed…the First Amendment right of every citizen to have their voice and opinion heard …must be balanced with the Second Amendment and Missouri law, which entitle each of us to protect our home and family from potential threats…based upon Missouri law and the CastleDoctrine, the McCloskeys were 100% within their rights.”