The viral nature of Mark and Patricia McCloskey’s entrance onto the national stage and becoming a symbol of not only Americans Second Amendment right to use firearms to protect one home and property, but of their vigilance in standing against an angry mob intent on doing them harm, made a pardon of the charges against them a foregone conclusion.
Both McCloskeys are attorneys and embedded in the St. Louis legal community. After the incident that gave them an international presence, the McCloskeys were tapped to give a pre-taped speech for the 2020 Republican National Convention. Mark McCloskey has used the name recognition and notoriety to mount a run as a Republican for Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat.
And the charges against the McCloskeys and their subsequent plea, along with the charged nature of the entire affair held a whiff of, to use an activist term, “inequity.”
From the local Fox 2 News:
Missouri Governor Mike Parson has pardoned a pair of St. Louis attorneys who drew international fame and infamy for waving guns at protesters outside their Central West End home last year.
The pardons were issued on Friday, July 30, but announced Tuesday.
Parson issued 12 pardons and commuted two sentences.
My colleague Jeff Charles reported on the plea deal the attorneys chose to make, and why Mark McCloskey felt comfortable taking it:
Mark and Patricia McCloskey plead guilty to charges related to an incident that went viral last year when the couple was photographed brandishing firearms while a Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstration took place in their gated neighborhood. In a recent appearance on Newsmax, they explained why they gave a guilty plea.
Mark stated that the prosecutor “dropped all the felony charges, all the gun charges, and charged me with a crime that said I purposely placed other people in apprehension of imminent fear of physical injury.”
“And, by God, I did it,” McCloskey continued. “That’s what the Second Amendment was there for … and I couldn’t say no to that one.”
Mark McCloskey pled guilty to a Class C misdemeanor of fourth-degree assault. Patricia McCloskey pled guilty to a Class A misdemeanor of second-degree harassment. They avoided any jail time and only paid fines of $750 and $2,000 respectively.
The activist St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner was at the center of the controversy surrounding the McCloskeys prosecution. Gardner chose to throw the book at the McCloskeys with charges of felony use of a weapon and misdemeanor fourth-degree assault but chose not to charge the BLM group who had trespassed on the private grounds of the McCloskeys’ housing community.
In October 2020 a grand jury indicted the McCloskeys on felony charges, including unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering. Gardner was subsequently removed from the case in December of 2020 by a Circuit Court judge because she’d used the case to fundraise for her re-election campaign. Once Special Prosecutor Richard Callahan took over the case, in May, our Deputy Managing Editor Susie Moore (a St. Louis attorney herself) discussed the amended charges brought against the McCloskeys here. The trial was scheduled for November, but the plea deal was quickly struck in June.
Mark McCloskey took to Twitter to issue a thank you to Gov. Parsons, but also advocate for a change in the laws that allowed the city of St. Louis to confiscate the weapons that they brandished against the mob:
Gov Parsons Pardons McCloskeys pic.twitter.com/fq2gz9ubxF
— Mark McCloskey (@mccloskeyusa) August 3, 2021