St Louis couple who brandished guns at protesters plead guilty

A Missouri court fines Mark McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, for pointing an assault rifle and handgun at Black Lives Matter protesters last year.

St Louis couple point guns
Patricia McCloskey and her husband Mark McCloskey drew their firearms on protesters during a protest on June 28, 2020 [File: Lawrence Bryant/Reuters]

Two wealthy American lawyers who earned notoriety by pointing guns at Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists marching past their mansion have pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges, a court official has said.

Mark McCloskey, who ran across his lawn and threatened protesters with an assault rifle in the incident last year, was fined $750 on Thursday for fourth-degree assault, said Tom Gross, spokesman for the 22nd Circuit Court in St Louis, Missouri.

His wife Patricia McCloskey was fined $2,000 for misdemeanour harassment after brandishing a handgun at the protesters.

Both had originally been charged with felony misuse of weapons after they were seen in video footage and photographs barefoot on their lawn in front of their palatial home, waving their guns and shouting as the peaceful protest march against police abuse and racism passed by on June 28, 2020.

There was no evidence that either had been threatened by the protesters.

The couple became a symbol of the gap between conservative white Americans and Black people seeking justice.

But conservatives in the state defended their actions and the state’s governor, Mike Parson, declared he would pardon them if they were convicted.

The couple became Republican heroes in the hotly fought presidential election last year, warning that Democrats would take away Americans’ gun rights.

“Make no mistake: No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America,” Patricia McCloskey said in a video the two made for the August Republican national convention that nominated Donald Trump for a second term as president.

In May, Mark McCloskey announced he was running for one of Missouri’s seats in the United States Senate.

In a campaign video he highlighted the incident, while exaggerating the threat the couple faced.

“When the angry mob came to destroy my house and kill my family, I took a stand against them,” he said. “I will never back down.”

Source: AFP