A St. Louis, Missouri couple is being charged with firearms and assault violations by a local prosecutor following their display of a rifle and pistol in front of their home. The couple claims hundreds of angry Black Lives Matter protesters breached a closed gate to their private community and threatened them with harm.
In response, Mark and Patricia McCloskey armed themselves and confronted the intruders with a rifle and pistol.
The couple has said that after several minutes of intense name-calling and threats by the intruders, they left the scene. No shots were fired or damage done to the McCloskey property.
Now, the McCloskeys have been accused by the local city prosecutor of felony use of a firearm and fourth-degree assault.
Video evidence plainly shows the couple were responding to a clear and present danger by “standing their ground” in front of their home. The Missouri “Castle Doctrine” law allows homeowners to defend themselves when they believe they are endangered by a threatening force.
Instead, city attorney/prosecutor Kim Gardner, has filed charges against the McCloskeys for intimidating the lives and safety of the protesters. The McCloskeys’ firearms were seized by the city attorney several days prior to her handing down the indictment.
A complete flip of common sense and statutory law. In Gardner’s perception, the bad guys are really the good guys and the McCloskeys must pay for their errant behavior in attempting to defend themselves and their property.
Legal reasoning has gone off the rails in St. Louis city government.
Several experts believe the city attorney/prosecutor hasn’t a legitimate case. Speaking on Fox News, July 20, 2020, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt believes the charges against the McCloskeys should be dropped because “The important fact is that this is a private street and private property. The chargers being brought here amount to nothing more than political prosecution.”
City attorney Kim Gardner is a Democrat, the McCloskeys are Republican.
Schmitt continued to say Missouri law is unequivocal, “you have the right to defend yourself, the lives of your family members, your home, and your property. The law is very clear. . .it’s not even a crime.”
Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge and Washington Times columnist Andrew Napolitano, also believes “there was no crime committed at all” by the McCloskeys.
“Their street is a private street, private property, owned collectively by the neighborhood association. The mayor lives on that street, which was the stated goal of the demonstrators.”
As I mentioned in a previous story (“Homeland security with an AR-15,” Courier, July 25, 2020), the protesters were originally angry with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewsom (D), for making public the names and addresses of individuals who had submitted letters calling for the defunding of the police department.
However, since the McCloskeys live on the same street as the mayor, the mob’s angry attention also became focused on the McCloskey home. Fearing violence may be imminent, the McCloskeys grabbed their firearms, a small pistol and rifle, and prepared to defend themselves.
Fortunately, they didn’t have to use the weapons as the crowd dispersed without further incident. It’s believed the presence of the guns may have been a contributing factor in the protesters decision to move on without further escalating the tense situation. Even though the McCloskeys were vastly outnumbered and could have easily been overwhelmed, the display of a couple of firearms in the hands of two private citizens helped convince the mob that someone, besides the McCloskeys, could get seriously hurt or killed.
And that, basically, is the premise of the legal argument: Does a private citizen have the lawful right to defend himself and his property with a firearm against intruders, or do intruders have the right to invade the homeowner’s property without fear of reprisal?
Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine” and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says a citizen has the absolute right to arm and protect themselves.
St. Lewis city attorney Kim Gardner disagrees.
All of the legal falderol may be for naught, as Missouri Governor Mike Parson has pledged to pardon the McCloskeys if they are convicted.
Of even greater concern to the general public is the fact does a city attorney have the authority to override state and federal law while in pursuance of a local lawsuit? If so, where can that authorization be found?
If not, what is the point of Ms. Gardner’s action against the McCloskeys and why would she jeopardize her law career by attempting such a stunt?
Unless, she has some other motive.
Mike Bibb lives in Safford.