St. Louis, MO – The nine protesters cited for trespassing on the private property of St. Louis attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey will not be charged with crimes.
The incident occurred on June 28 when rioters who were trying to get to the St. Louis mayor’s private residence broke down the locked gate into the community where the McCloskeys resided and began marching through the private streets.
The McCloskeys, who are both attorneys, grabbed an unloaded semi-automatic rifle and an inoperable prop gun from a court case and faced off with the protesters in front of their $1.5 million home to defend their property.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner subsequently charged the McCloskeys with one felony count each of unlawful use of a weapon, after the couple stood outside their own home and displayed guns to defend their property.
Patricia and Mark McCloskey had told investigators beforehand that the weapon had been rendered inoperable so it could be used as a prop inside a courtroom for a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer.
However, in order to charge Patricia McCloskey under Missouri law, the gun had to be “readily” capable of lethal use, KSDK reported.
St. Louis Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley ordered the crime lab to field strip the pistol.
Documents showed the techs found the gun been assembled wrong and the firing pin spring was put in backward, in front of the firing pin, rendering the weapon inoperable, according to KSDK.
The documents also showed that firearms experts disassembled the weapon and reassembled it properly, then test-fired it to confirm it worked.
Staff in the crime lab photographed the weapon’s disassembly and reassembly, according to KSDK.
But there no was no reference to the fact the gun didn’t work in the charging documents against Patricia McCloskey.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he would move to have the charges against the couple dismissed shortly after Gardner announced them.
More than two months after the incident, St. Louis Metropolitan Police completed their investigation into what happened at the McCloskeys home after protesters broke down the neighborhood gates and issued citations to nine people, NPR reported.
But it was up to the prosecutor whether to actually charge the protesters for trespassing, and Gardner’s office declined, FOX News reported.
St. Louis Deputy City Counselor Michael Garvin said Tuesday that prosecutors had thoroughly investigated and reviewed videos, property documents, and interviewed numerous witnesses.
“After consideration of all factors, the city counselor determined that prosecution is not warranted against these particular individuals,” Garvin told FOX News in a statement. “Having reached that conclusion, all charges were refused.”
He also said that the residents who are the trustees of the McCloskey’s neighborhood had also declined to pursue trespassing charges against the protesters.
The McCloskeys’ attorney, Joel Schwartz, said that Gardner’s decision not to prosecute doesn’t mean the protesters weren’t trespassing, FOX News reported.
“It was clearly trespassing and the McCloskeys were clearly within their rights to do what they did,” Schwartz said.
The McCloskeys, however, are still facing charges for defending their property against the trespassing mob.
The state attorney general submitted a brief that respectfully requested the judge dismiss the charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey as quickly as possible on the grounds their Second Amendment rights had been violated, FOX News reported.
“The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine, which provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm,” Schmitt said in a written statement.
“Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed suit against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety,” he continued. “As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored.”
Missouri Governor Mike Parson said in July that he plans to pardon the couple if the case against them proceeds to that point.