Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is pushing the U.S. attorney general to investigate a Missouri prosecutor for civil rights violations for investigating a St. Louis couple that used guns to threaten protesters that had broken into a private neighborhood.
Hawley sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr urging him to take action against St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. Gardner is investigating a St. Louis couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, for allegedly meeting protesters who broke into the McCloskeys’ gated community with a “violent assault.”
Hawley suggested in the letter that if anyone should be prosecuted, Gardner should pursue the protesters who trespassed on private property while chanting slogans for Black Lives Matter.
“Gardner is now threatening to prosecute not the trespassers, but the McCloskeys, and she is using the powers of her office to target them,” Hawley said. “Her office has seized their firearms, and police have applied for warrants in the case, with an indictment believed to be imminent.”
Hawley continued, “This is an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment, and I urge you to consider a federal civil rights investigation into the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office to determine whether this investigation and impending prosecution violates this family’s constitutional rights. There is no question under Missouri law that the McCloskeys had the right to own and use their firearms to protect themselves from threatened violence, and that any criminal prosecution for these actions is legally unsound. The only possible motivation for the investigation, then, is a politically motivated attempt to punish this family for exercising their Second Amendment rights. Indeed, this is part of a troubling pattern of politically motivated prosecutorial decisions by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney, who has not seen fit to prosecute many violent offenders, and who has expressed hostility to gun rights in the past. Recently, she declined to pursue charges against twenty-nine individuals arrested during a weekend of riots in the city, and charged only seven.”
After the June 28 protest, Mark McCloskey did a number of media interviews defending his and his wife’s actions against the protesters. McCloskey is a St. Louis attorney who has a record of civil rights cases representing victims of police brutality.
“Right now I’m representing a young man who was assaulted by the police who’s sitting in prison right now for being involved in a car accident after which the police came and assaulted him. It’s on video. I’m not some kind of extreme, you know, anti-Black Lives Matter guy,” McCloskey told a local news station. “I do these cases, I’ve been doing them for decades. I mean, I have on the wall of my conference room, I’ve got an anti-slavery broadsheet, the abolitionist broadsheet from 1832 has been there as long as I’ve owned this building. I mean, I’m not the enemy of people that really care about black lives, but I’m apparently the enemy of the terrorists and the Marxists that are running this organization.”
McCloskey said that the protesters had threatened him and his wife. One of the demonstrators, according to him, had pulled out a loaded pistol magazine, showed it to the McCloskeys and said, “You’re next.”
“We were threatened with our lives, threatened with the house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog’s life being threatened. It was about as bad as it can get. You know, I really thought it was the storming of Bastille, that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it. It was a huge and frightening crowd and they broke in the gate and they were coming at us,” McCloskey said.