Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Monday evening moved to dismiss felony charges against a St. Louis couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters allegedly threatening their home last month.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey were each charged earlier on Monday with one count of unlawful use of a weapon by St. Louis circuit attorney Kimberly Gardner, a Democrat.
- The charges came after Gardner’s office investigated video of the McCloskeys brandishing firearms at protesters trespassing in their private St. Louis neighborhood on June 28.
Schmitt on Monday night filed an amicus brief defending the McCloskeys and also posted to Twitter a video expressing his support for them.
- The attorney general, a Republican, said the right to keep and bear arms has “the highest level of protection” in Missouri law and called the circuit attorney’s actions a “political prosecution.”
- “Enough is enough. As Missouri’s chief law enforcement officer I simply will not stand by while a Missouri law’s being ignored,” he said.
- “That’s why I’m entering this case and seeking dismissal of this case to protect the rights of Missourians to defend themselves and their property under Missouri’s Castle Doctrine.”
Schmitt also appeared on Fox News on Monday night, where he said the right to keep and bear arms was “God-given” and “unalienable.”
- He called Gardner “a rogue prosecutor,” and said, “This is a politically motivated prosecution by a prosecutor who’s not interested in prosecuting violent crime, has an abysmal record.”
American Karens or American heroes? The McCloskeys, who are both trial attorneys, became a cause celebre on the right after footage went viral of the couple brandishing firearms and facing down the crowd of anti-racism protesters that had marched into their neighborhood.
- Mark McCloskey told local CBS affiliate KMOV4 his family was “in fear for our lives”after the crowd broke down the gate.
- “This is all private property. There are no public sidewalks or public streets. We were told that we would be killed, our home burned and our dog killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob,” he said.
Many conservatives have held up the couple as champions of law and order and living arguments for the Second Amendment.
- In memes and social media posts, the McCloskeys drew praise for their home maintenance and fashion sense in addition to their perceived bravery.
Their cause has been taken up by President Donald Trump, who said last Tuesday that prosecution of the couple was a “disgrace.”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, told the Washington Post the next day, “The president said that he would do everything he could within his powers to help with this situation and he would be taking action to do that.”
Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, on Thursday requested a Justice Department probe into Gardner’s handling of the case.