Couple Who Waved Guns at Protesters Lobby to Keep Law Licenses, Say They Held Off Mob

The St. Louis couple who gained notoriety for pointing guns at protesters walking by their home in June of 2020 are arguing they should keep their law licenses because they were defending their property from a violent and threatening mob, the Associated Press reported.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey submitted the claim in response to a September request made to the Missouri Supreme Court to suspend the pair's law licenses.

The couple was outside with their daughter on June 28, 2020, when demonstrators protesting after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis passed by. Thinking that the protesters were too close to their house and ignoring signs about their street being private, the McCloskeys pointed their guns at the group until it passed, with no shots fired.

In their new claim, the pair cited their belief that the "350 to 500" demonstrators threatened them, their daughter and their property and said their actions were justified because they felt the protest could become "unlawful and violent" like others around the country if they did not intervene, according to KCUR.

Special prosecutor Richard Callahan has said his investigation determined that the protesters were peaceful.

"There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realized they had ventured onto a private enclave," Callahan said in a news release after the McCloskeys pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges.

They pleaded guilty to various assault and harassment charges in June, when they were fined $2,750 and required to give up their weapons. They were later pardoned by Missouri Governor Mike Parson.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

St. Louis, Mark, Patricia McCloskey, 2020 Protests
Armed homeowners Mark and Patricia McCloskey, standing in front their house, confront protesters marching to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's house in the Central West End of St. Louis. The couple hope to keep their law licenses by arguing they were protecting their property from a violent mob. Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP File

Their actions gained praise from conservatives, including then-President Donald Trump. Mark McCloskey is now a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

The response cites a report by the Major Cities Chiefs Association finding that nearly 89 percent of protests in St. Louis in June of 2020 involved unlawful activity and 11 percent involved some level of violence.

The McCloskeys say some of the protesters who marched past their home on the way to the then-mayor's house ignored signs they were entering a private street and destroyed a gate in front of their home, which they contend constitutes criminal rioting under Missouri law.

Some of the protesters shouted death, rape and arson threats against the couple, their daughter and their property, they said.

The McCloskeys were protecting "their lives, home, and property by displaying firearms" and holding off "the threatening mob," the response states.

Despite the pardons, Missouri's chief disciplinary counsel, Alan D. Pratzel, has recommended the Missouri Supreme Court indefinitely suspend the McCloskeys' law license with no chance for reinstatement for six months. He said their actions showed "indifference to public safety" and involved "moral turpitude."

In their response, the McCloskeys contend the pardon "obliterated" their convictions and demonstrates their conduct did not constitute moral turpitude.

The McCloskeys' response notes the couple has received widespread public support and includes what it says are more than 250 unsolicited letters of support.

St. Louis, Mark, Patricia McCloskey, 2020 Protests
Missouri Senate candidate Mark McCloskey and his wife, Patricia McCloskey, walk past the Kenosha County Courthouse as the jury listens to closing arguments in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial on November 15, 2021, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Scott Olson/Getty Images