Lawyer and Senate candidate Mark McCloskey – known for guarding his home with an AR-15 while Black Lives Matter protesters marched through his neighborhood in June 2020 – was disciplined by the Missouri Supreme Court this week over the incident despite being pardoned of wrongdoing.
The Missouri Supreme Court provided few details regarding its decision to put McCloskey’s license on probation for one year, but argued that he had “committed a misdemeanor offense involving moral turpitude.”
The court also ordered a one-year-long probation on the law license of McCloskey’s wife, Patricia McCloskey, who plead guilty to a Class A misdemeanor of second-degree harassment and was fined $2,000 with no jail time.
“I’m disappointed the Supreme Court found it appropriate to discipline us,” McCloskey said in an interview, according to the Kansas City Star. “I think what we did was certainly not an act of moral turpitude.”
McCloskey added that both he and his wife would cooperate with the court’s order.
Armed with an AR-15 and pistol, McCloskey and his wife stood outside their St. Louis home when Black Lives Matter demonstrators broke through a gate and marked down their private street in June 2020. Prosecutors initially charged the McCloskeys with felony unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering, but the pair pled not guilty to the evidence tampering charges and charges were revised down to misdemeanors. Mark subsequently pled guilty to a Class C misdemeanor of 4th-degree assault and faced a $750 fine and no jail time.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson later pardoned the couple in August 2021, after vowing to do so in July 2020.
“We are grateful for Gov. Mike Parson’s support in granting Patty and me a pardon for the political prosecution of defending our lives against the angry mob,” McCloskey said in a statement at the time.
Despite being pardoned, Missouri’s legal ethics watchdog pushed to have the couple’s licenses suspended for six months over their encounter with BLM.
Alan Pratzel, Missouri’s chief disciplinary counsel, argued McCloskey’s guilty plea and statements violated his “duties to the public and the legal profession” and “brought discredit to the profession,” the Kansas City Star reported.
In one instance, McCloskey told reporters that he understood he put others at risk of harm.
“I sure as heck did,” he told reporters outside the courthouse. “That’s what the guns were there for and I’d do it again any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to place them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family.”
Pratzel said McCloskey’s comments demonstrated his disrespect for the law.
“Minutes after admitting in court that his behavior was not legally justified in that setting, he told the news media that he would commit the same crime under the same circumstances,” Pratzel said.