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A husband and wife from St. Louis are defending their decision to pull guns on Black Lives Matter protesters after videos of the scene were shared widely online.
Personal injury lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey faced backlash after the situation unfolded on Sunday, June 28, when protesters marched past their huge Forest Park home while on their way to challenge Mayor Lyda Krewson.
The protesters did not appear to step foot on the property, but the couple still came outside and brandished weapons, with Mark holding an assault-style rifle while Patricia wielded a handgun.
After videos of the couple went viral, the husband claimed the pair felt the need to arm themselves because they feared for their lives.
As per the Tennessee Star, he commented:
We were threatened with our lives, threatened with a house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog’s life being threatened.
McCloskey likened the protest to the Storming of the Bastille, which took place in Paris and saw the people of France attack the government.
Despite the fact footage appears to show a peaceful protest, McCloskey said it was ‘about as bad as it can get’.
I mean, those you know, I really thought it was Storming the Bastille and that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it.
The couple defended their decision further by pointing out their house is located on a private street, which protesters had to break through a gate to get to. McCloskey said there are ‘no public sidewalks or public streets’, indicating the activsts were trespassing even without going on to the McCloskeys’ actual property.
He argued it’s not a protest ‘when the first thing they do is destroy private property’ and ‘they storm in angry and shouting and threatening’, describing the event instead as ‘a revolution’ and ‘an attempt to inflict terror.’
The husband said his family were ‘terrified that [they’d] be murdered within seconds’, though he didn’t seem to consider the fact that protesters would likely also have been terrified of being murdered within seconds when the McCloskeys pulled out their weapons.
Though the footage suggests otherwise, the McCloskeys’ attorney, Albert Watkins, told the Associated Press the couple are long-time civil rights advocates and support the message of the Black Lives Matter movement.
He claimed they got their their guns when a few white protesters violently threatened the couple and their property.
The most important thing for them is that their images (holding the guns) don’t become the basis for a rallying cry for people who oppose the Black Lives Matter message.
They want to make it really clear that they believe the Black Lives Matter message is important
Kimberly Gardner, circuit attorney for St. Louis, said in a statement on Monday that she is investigating the McCloskeys for their ‘threat of deadly force.’
I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protesters were met by guns and 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. My office is currently working with the public and police to investigate these events.
Gardner said she ‘will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights’ and vowed to ‘use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable.’
No charges have been brought against McCloskeys, and though police said they were still investigating they labelled the situation a case of trespassing and assault by intimidation against the couple by protesters.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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