‘It’s time for the city to cough up my guns’: Mark McCloskey throws down after judge expunges convictions against him, wife

News & Politics

A St. Louis judge this week expunged misdemeanor convictions against Mark McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, after the couple in June 2020 famously stood outside their home with guns while facing a mob of Black Lives Matter protesters.

Now McCloskey wants his firearms back, saying in an interview that “it’s time for the city to cough up my guns,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He added that he’ll sue if the city doesn’t cooperate, according to the paper.

‘We were all alone facing an angry mob.’

McCloskey surrendered the two guns he and his wife possessed that day — a Colt AR-15 rifle and a Bryco .380-caliber pistol — as part of an agreement in which he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and she pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment, both misdemeanors, the Post-Dispatch said. They originally were charged with felonies.

Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson later pardoned the couple, and McCloskey sued in 2021 to get his guns back, the paper said, adding that judges denied that request and a subsequent appeal.

The McCloskeys in January petitioned to expunge their misdemeanor convictions, the Post-Dispatch said, testifying during a March hearing and arguing that they have been upstanding citizens since their guilty pleas. McCloskey said he has continued to work as a lawyer, fighting for his clients, the paper added.

More from the Post-Dispatch:

Attorneys for the city’s public safety department, however, asked protesters to testify about how the McCloskeys’ actions affected them. They also quizzed the couple on advertisements for Mark McCloskey’s subsequent political campaign that featured footage from the incident.

The city and St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gabe Gore’s Office argued that the couple represents a continued threat to public safety and has shown no remorse for the impact of their actions.

But Judge Joseph P. Whyte wrote in an order that the testimony of the protesters showed a threat to public safety on June 28, 2020 — not in the time since.

The purpose of an expungement, he wrote, is to give people who have rehabilitated themselves a second chance. McCloskey’s campaign rhetoric is protected by the First Amendment and not evidence of a continued threat, Whyte said.

What’s the background?

On Sunday evening, June 28, 2020, the McCloskeys confronted a mob that reportedly had broken through gates in their private community. Mark McCloskey soon afterward said the mob rushed toward their home “and put us in fear of our lives,” adding that mob members told the couple that they “would be killed, our home burned, and our dog killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob.”

Days later police said they were investigating whether the mob of protesters, which numbered approximately 500, committed fourth-degree assault by intimidation, as well as trespassing. By September, law enforcement officials said they wouldn’t prosecute nine Black Lives Matter protesters who were arrested and charged with trespassing.

That was not the case with then-St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who filed charges against the McCloskeys a month after the incident, stating that the couple waved their guns in a “threatening manner” at “peaceful, unarmed protesters.” But Gardner at the time was accused of having a history of politically motivated decisions, and then-state Attorney General Eric Schmitt also called out her “political prosecution” of the McCloskeys and filed for dismissal of the charges. By December a judge dismissed Gardner from the case because the George Soros-backed attorney used it in fundraising emails.

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