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Missouri AG calls felony charges against armed Missouri homeowners 'a political prosecution'

Written by on July 20, 2020

St. Louis’ top prosecutor faced intense criticism on Monday– including from the state’s governor and attorney general– after bringing felony charges against the homeowners seen in cellphone video brandishing guns when protesters appeared outside their home in a gated community. 

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt told “Fox News @ Night”  Monday that he is seeking to have the charges against the homeowners dismissed, calling it “a political prosecution.”

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, the city’s top prosecutor, said Mark and Patricia McCloskey — both personal injury attorneys in their 60s — will be charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon following the June 28 incident.

“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis,” Gardner said in a statement.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, said last week he would consider pardoning the couple should they be criminally charged.

“Kim Gardner’s action toward the McCloskeys is outrageous,” he wrote on Twitter Monday. “Even worse, the Circuit Attorney’s office has admitted there is a backlog of cases and dozens of homicides that haven’t been prosecuted, yet she has accelerated this case forward.”

Schmitt argued that the right to self-defense is “deeply rooted” in the constitution and said the state has an expansive “castle doctrine,” which “gives broad authority to individuals to protect their lives, the lives of their family members, their homes, and their property.”

“At a time when there’s calls to defund the police, at a time with skyrocketing violent crime rates — including here in Missouri and in St. Louis — we’ve got a prosecutor now targeting individuals for exercising their fundamental rights under the second amendment,” Schmitt said.

MISSOURI AG MOVES TO DISMISS CHARGES AGAINST COUPLE WHO POINTED GUNS AT CROWD

The McCloskeys have said they were defending themselves, with tensions high in St. Louis amid nationwide police protests sparked by the police custody death of George Floyd. The McCloskeys said that the crowd of demonstrators broke an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs and that some violently threatened them.

Armed homeowners standing in front of their house along Portland Place confront protesters as they march to Mayor Lyda Krewson's house on Sunday, June 28, 2020, in the Central West End in St. Louis. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Armed homeowners standing in front of their house along Portland Place confront protesters as they march to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house on Sunday, June 28, 2020, in the Central West End in St. Louis. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The husband and wife maintained they were protecting their home. St. Louis police seized the rifle from the home pursuant to a search warrant. No shots were fired but the incident quickly went viral and fueled the debate over rights property owners have when confronted with perceived threats.

ST. LOUIS’ TOP PROSECUTOR SAYS SHE’S CHARGING COUPLE WHO FLASHED GUNS AT CROWD MARCHING TO MAYOR’S HOME

Schmitt on Monday noted how the incident was on a private street and said you have a right to “defend your castle” under Missouri law.

“This is a politically motivated prosecution by a prosecutor whose not interesting in prosecuting violent crimes,” he added.

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Schmitt added that he is seeking to have the case dismissed “not just for the McCloskeys, but for every Missourian whose rights are threatened by a rogue prosecutor who seeks to punish people for exercising their fundamental right to self-defense.”

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Louis Casiano contributed to this report

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