The Missouri couple who was seen brandishing firearms as Black Lives Matter protesters marched on a private street and allegedly broke down a gate will likely be pardoned, said Gov. Mike Parson in an interview.
Parson, a Republican, told a St. Louis radio station that he believes Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who are both lawyers, will be pardoned if they are charged in the June 28 incident.
“I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail,” Parson said, adding that a pardon is “exactly what would happen” should they be convicted.
The McCloskeys displayed a pistol and an AR-15-style rifle as protesters walked on their street. The demonstrators were heading to the home of St. Louis Mayor Ldya Krewson after she read aloud the names and addresses of activists who sought to defund the city’s police department in a Facebook Live conference.
After the incident, which was captured on video, prosecutor Kim Gardner launched an investigation and alleged the couple infringed on the demonstrators’ rights. Later, police in St. Louis seized a rifle from the couple’s home after getting a search warrant.
But Parson told 97.1 FM the McCloskeys “did what they legally should do,” reported The Hill. “A mob does not have the right to charge your property,” he said, according to the paper. “They had every right to protect themselves.”
Parson later commented on Twitter that his office will “not allow law-abiding citizens to be targeted for exercising their constitutional rights.”
Gardner, a Democrat, has faced criticism from Parson, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and President Donald Trump, while Parson cited Missouri’s “castle doctrine” law that justifies lethal force for people protecting their homes.
“This means that if someone illegally enters your front porch or backyard, you can use deadly force against them without retreating first,” according to the FindLaw website.
The McCloskeys have defended their actions in interviews, saying that they felt threatened by the protesters, who had allegedly made threats to them.
“I didn’t shoot anybody,” Mark McCloskey said in an interview last week. “I just held my ground, protecting my house, and I’m sitting here on television tonight instead of dead or putting out the smoldering embers of my home.”
The longtime lawyer said that the legacy “media is right behind the mob,” describing them as “a loud crowd of angry people and they are supporting these entities which are, from my understanding, Marxist and oppose everything that I stand for and I hold dear and near.”