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MO Gov says he’ll pardon gunowner couple if charged after defending their home

Mark and Patricia McCloskey 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/TNS)
July 20, 2020

Missouri Governor Mike Parson signaled he is considering preventing a St. Louis couple from being charged and sentenced over an armed confrontation with protesters outside their home last month.

Sitting down for an interview with “The Marc Cox Morning Show” on Friday, Parson suggested he would pardon Mark and Patricia McCloskey if the couple is charged for brandishing firearms during a June 28 confrontation with protesters. Parson pushed back on the idea of prosecuting the McCloskeys over the incident and said a pardon is “exactly what would happen” if the couple is charged and convicted.

Listen to Parson’s interview. The segment regarding the McCloskey’s begins at 4:50.

Cox asked Parson if he had the authority and would consider a pardon for the McCloskeys if Gardner proceeds with charges against them and manages to secure a conviction after a trial.

“I think that’s exactly what would happen,” Parson said of the potential pardon.

“Right now, that’s what I feel,” he added. “You don’t know until you hear all the facts. But right now, if this is all about going after them for doing a lawful act, then yeah, if that scenario ever happened, I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail.”

The McCloskeys said they felt threatened on June 28 when protesters broke through the gate to their private street and approached their private residence. The couple said protesters shouted threats at them and some were armed, so they grabbed their own firearms and ordered the protesters to leave.

Parson said the McCloskeys “had every right to protect themselves.”

Police recently served a search warrant at the McCloskeys’ residence and confiscated a rifle from the couple. Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has been investigating the confrontation incident, and though no charges have been filed against the couple, Gardner has said “we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Parson also criticized Gardner’s investigation against the McCloskeys and her suggestion the couple had sought to intimidate those practicing their First Amendment rights.

“What Kim Gardner has done is just making the situation by far worse, making it more political,” Parson said. “By even attempting to file charges against them . . . that thing is out of control up there.”

Parson also indicated in the interview that he had spoken with President Donald Trump about the incident. In a recent interview with Townhall, Trump called the potential prosecution against the McCloskeys “a disgrace.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has also criticized Gardner’s investigation and issued a letter to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, requesting Barr launch a civil rights investigation against Gardner. Hawley described Gardner’s potential prosecution of the couple as part of a pattern of “politically motivated prosecutorial decisions” by Gardner.