Missouri 'Ken and Karen' who pointed guns at protesters won't face jail: 'They had a right to protect themselves'
The Governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, in a statement on Sunday, July 19, said that he is prepared to pardon the couple, who brandished their firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their mansion, if criminal charges are brought against them. The Republican governor said that the couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey of St Louis, "had every right to protect themselves" and that he would ensure that they do not spend jail time for it. Parson's statement comes weeks after the McCloskeys brandished an AR-15 and a handgun at protesters marching past their mansion, which was en route to Mayor Lyda Krewson's home.
The governor, while speaking to 97.1FM, said: "Right now, that's what I feel. You don't know until you hear all the facts. But right now, if this is all about going after them for doing a lawful act, then yeah, if that's scenario ever happened, I don't think they're going to spend any time in jail. A mob does not have the right to charge your property. They had every right to protect themselves." He later took to Twitter to reinstate: "We will not allow law-abiding citizens to be targeted for exercising their constitutional rights."
The husband-wife duo, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, on June 28, were filmed drawing their weapons at a group of nearly 300 demonstrators as they walked past the duo's mansion around 6 pm. The McCloskeys are both personal injury lawyers and run the McCloskey Law Center. The protesters, at the time, were heading to Mayor Lyda Krewson's home to demand her resignation after she released the names and addresses of the residents who had suggested defunding the police department. Moments after the couple brandished their weapons, the demonstrators began chanting "let's go" as the pair stood at their front door and patrolled their property. The footage was later tweeted by President Donald Trump.
St Louis police, shortly after the incident, confirmed that their officials had been called to the property at 7.20 pm for an incident involving trespassing, assault and intimidation after the couple issued a "call for help." The police, in a statement, said: "The victims stated they were on their property when they heard a loud commotion coming from the street. When the victims went to investigate the commotion, they observed a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with 'No Trespassing' and 'Private Street' signs."
"Once through the gate, the victims advised the group that they were on a private street and trespassing and told them to leave. The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims," the statement added. "When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police. The investigation is ongoing." The state law prohibits people from exhibiting "any weapon readily capable of lethal use" in a threatening manner in the presence of one or more persons, according to the National Rifle Association.
State prosecutor Kimberley Gardner, earlier this month, had announced that her office would be probing the actions taking by the couple. "We will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights, and will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable," Gardner had said.