Republican Missouri Governor Michael Parson on Tuesday pardoned Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who brandished guns while Black Lives Matter activists trespassed through their neighborhood last summer.
Parson revealed the McCloskeys’ pardon along with a batch of other pardons and commutations. The governor did not give any additional statement regarding the McCloskeys.
The McCloskeys pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor offenses related to their confrontation with Black Lives Matter activists last year. Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and was fined $750. Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment and was fined $2,000. Both agreed to give up their guns used in the altercation.
In June 2020, the McCloskeys confronted dozens of Black Lives Matter protesters that had entered a private, gated community in St. Louis while marching to then-Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house. While the McCloskeys and the protesters exchanged heated words, no shots were fired and nobody was hurt.
Mark McCloskey said in a Tuesday statement that if he were ever put in that situation again, he would act the same, according to the AP.
“Today we are incredibly thankful that Governor Mike Parson righted this wrong and granted us pardons,” he added.
McCloskey attorney Joel Schwartz added that the couple is “thrilled” with Parson’s decision to pardon them.
“They want to put this episode of their lives behind them and focus on Mark’s campaign for senate. As Mark McCloskey has stated, if he faced the same situation again, he would conduct himself in the same manner, and he feels he’s been vindicated by the governor’s pardon,” Schwartz said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
After garnering national attention, both good and bad, for his confrontation with Black Lives Matter, Mark McCloskey launched a campaign for U.S. Senate in May. McCloskey has used the June 2020 incident to fundraise and bolster his image among GOP voters. He uses one of the photos of him confronting the protesters that went viral on the front page of his campaign website. The photo shows him holding a rifle standing next to his wife, who is armed with a pistol.
The McCloskeys were originally charged by a grand jury in October with unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence, both felony crimes. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner pursued the case against the McCloskeys but later earned a reprimand from a judge for using the high-profile case to raise campaign funds for her own reelection. The judge eventually disqualified her from the case.
“Ms. Gardner has every right to rebut criticism, but it appears unnecessary to stigmatize defendant – or even mention him – in campaign solicitations, especially when she purports to be responding to others,” the judge wrote at the time. “In fact, the case law and Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit it.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Governor Mike Parson as a Democrat. He is a Republican.