The white St. Louis couple made famous after waving firearms at protesters last summer and who pleaded guilty to misdemeanors was pardoned by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, the Republican governor announced Tuesday.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey stood outside their home in an elite gated community of Central West End in St. Louis on June 28, 2020, and waved weapons at demonstrators who were marching to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s nearby house to protest against racism.
The couple, who are both lawyers, said they felt threatened by the protesters, whom they argued had trespassed on a private street and broken down a gate. Prosecutors said the protesters were peaceful and did not realize they were on a private street. Protesters said the gate was already open.
Mark McCloskey displayed an AR-15 rifle and his wife displayed a semiautomatic handgun. Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and was fined $750, and Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was fined $2,000 in June.
“Mark McCloskey has publicly stated that if he were involved in the same situation, he would have the exact same conduct,” the McCloskeys’ lawyer Joel Schwartz said. “He believes that the pardon vindicates that conduct.”
The couple faced felony charges that were later dropped, and Parson said he would likely pardon them if convicted. The pardon was granted on Friday.
The incident became a flashpoint for conservatives after images of the confrontation went viral on social media. Republican lawmakers and conservatives felt the McCloskeys were being unfairly persecuted, while Democrats vilified the couple for the assault on protesters.
Former President Donald Trump expressed his support for the McCloskeys, and they were featured speakers at the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Mark McCloskey, a Republican, announced he was running for Senate in 2022 earlier this year.
Contributing: The Associated Press