ST. LOUIS – A white couple who stood outside their St. Louis mansion and pointed guns at protesters support the Black Lives Matter movement and don't want to become heroes to those who oppose the cause, their attorney said Monday.
Video posted online showed Mark McCloskey, 63, and his 61-year-old wife, Patricia, standing outside their Renaissance palazzo-style home Sunday night in the city’s well-to-do Central West End neighborhood as protesters marched toward the mayor’s home to demand her resignation. He could be heard yelling while holding a long-barreled gun. His wife stood next to him with a handgun.
Mark McCloskey told KMOV-TV that he and wife, who are personal injury lawyers, were facing an “angry mob” on their private street and feared for their lives Sunday night.
No charges were brought against McCloskeys. Police said they were still investigating but labeled it a case of trespassing and assault by intimidation against the couple by protesters in the racially diverse crowd.
However, Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner issued a statement later Monday characterizing what happened differently and saying her office was working with police to investigate the confrontation.
“I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protesters were met by guns and a violent assault,” she said. “We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.”
Their attorney, Albert Watkins, told The Associated Press on Monday that the couple are long-time civil rights advocates and support the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. He said they grabbed their guns when two or three protesters — who were white — violently threatened the couple and their property and that of their neighbors.
“The most important thing for them is that their images (holding the guns) don't become the basis for a rallying cry for people who oppose the Black Lives Matter message," Watkins said. "They want to make it really clear that they believe the Black Lives Matter message is important.”