GOP Senator Josh Hawley accused a St. Louis prosecutor of ‘targeting’ the couple who brandished an AR-15 at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their mansion, and asked the Justice Department to open an investigation.
In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Hawley asked that a federal civil rights investigation be launched into the conduct of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner over her investigation into Mark and Patricia McCloskey.
Hawley claimed that Gardner, a Democrat, ‘has abused her power in seizing the McCloskey’s guns, investigating the family, and pursuing a possible indictment of the McCloskeys.’
GOP Senator Josh Hawley (left) on Thursday claimed an investigation led by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner into the McCloskey family was an ‘abuse of power’
Patricia and Mark McCloskey (left to right) made headlines in June after brandishing firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their St. Louis mansion
In June, Mark and Patricia stood outside their luxurious St.Louis mansion while brandishing firearms at peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters who were marching through the private neighborhood.
The demonstrators were initially unconcerned with the couple and were marching to the home of St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
The couple, claiming to fear for their lives, stood on their front patio with Mark holding an AR-15 rifle and Patricia pointing a handgun at civilians.
Footage of the incident was shared to social media prompting swift backlash with authorities raiding the couple’s home in search of weapons and an investigation was opened by Gardner.
It’s reported that an indictment for Mark and Patricia is believed to be imminent.
After footage of the incident hit social media, an investigation was opened into the McCloskey’s and an indictment is reportedly imminent
Local police previously said the lawyer couple would not face charges, but local Republican leaders have called on President Trump to intervene as Gardner’s office continues to investigate the matter.
According to Hawley, Gardner’s actions violate the Second Amendment and there is ‘no question’ that the couple has the right to bear arms.
Missouri Gun Laws
According to the Gun Law Scorecard by Giffords Law Center, Missouri was given a ‘F’ grade and is ranked number 46 on gun law strength.
In Missouri, residents are allowed ‘open carry’ laws and are not required to do the following:
- Register firearms
- Obtain a purchase permit for rifles, shotguns or handguns
- Obtain owner licensing for possession of a rifle, shotgun or handgun
- Must notify officers of firearm possession
- A permit for vehicle carry
The ‘Castle Doctrine’ in Missouri states that if a person in under attack or fears for their life, they have the right to use force as protection.
The Castle Doctrine can be used when civilians reasonably believe that physical force is necessary to defend themselves from an oncoming attack.
Or to prevent a individual from stealing, tampering or causing property damage.
Sources: The NRA Institute for Legislative Action, Guns to Carry and FindLaw
‘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,’ wrote Hawley.
‘The only possible motivation for the investigation, then, is a politically motivated attempt to punish this family for exercising their Second Amendment rights.
‘The Second Amendment is not a second-class right. No family should face the threat of harassment or malicious prosecution for exercising that right.
‘The Department of Justice must ensure that all Americans’ rights are protected from this kind of abuse of power.’
Hawley doubled down on his stance Thursday morning where he once again called Garnder’s investigation an ‘abuse of power.’
The sentiment was echoed by GOP Missouri Governor Mike Parson, who said during a news briefing that the McCloskey’s had ‘every right to protect their property.’
Parson defended the couple saying they were legally allowed to brandish their arms under the state’s ‘castle doctrine’, Missouri’s ‘stand-your-ground’ law that allows property owners to use force against intruders if property owners fear imminent harm.
He revealed he spoke with Trump before the briefing and the president ‘doesn’t like what he sees and the way these people are being treated.’
He added that Barr ‘was represented on the call’ and he believes both will ‘take a look’ at the McCloskey case.
‘The president said that he would do everything he could within his powers to help with this situation and he would be taking action to do that,’ Parson said.
During an interview with conservative news website Townhall, Trump declared that any attempt to prosecute the couple would be a ‘disgrace.’
‘When you look at St. Louis, where two people, they came out. They were going to be beat up badly if they were lucky. If they were lucky. They were going to be beat up badly and the house was going to be totally ransacked and probably burned down like they tried to burn down churches,’ Trump said.
‘And these people were standing there, never used it and they were legal, the weapons. And now I understand somebody local, they want to prosecute these people. It’s a disgrace,’ he added.
Gov. Parson said he spoke with Trump just before his press conference Tuesday and the president ‘doesn’t like what he sees and the way these people are being treated’
Trump said charges against the McCloskeys would be a ‘disgrace’ in an interview on Tuesday
Since nationwide protests against police brutality and racism in May, Trump has unequivocally sided with law enforcement and done little to hide his displeasure with the Black Lives Matter movement.
But Gardner’s office has denounced the allegations and she claimed that Hawley was, in fact, targeting her in his latest move.
On Wednesday, Gardner shared a Washington Post article that highlighted the apparent attack.
‘She has received racist attacks and death threats that have worsened as President Trump has thrown his support behind the couple,’ the caption read.
In one incident, a note was reportedly left on Gardner’s car that read ‘I hope you hang from a tree.’
Kim Gardner shared a tweet on Wednesday claimed that she was being targeted by President Trump and Gov. Parson
In another, she reportedly received an email that read: ‘It is YOU who are the racist, unfairly targeting white McCloskeys for exercising their 2nd Amendment rights while your people stormed their property. U really need to be run out of town you black b****!
A Twitter account for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office called the allegations made by Hawley ‘baseless.’
‘Baseless. Our office will continue to investigate this matter, and will not be bullied by a sitting U.S. Senator or anyone else,’ the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office wrote on Twitter.
In a statement on Tuesday, Gardner leveled a harsh response to both Parson’s and Trump.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney Office called the allegations hurled by Hawley ‘baseless’ and refused to be ‘bullied by a sitting U.S. Senator or anyone else’
Gardner released a statement on Tuesday leveled at President Trump and Gov. Parson’s for attempting to intervene in her investigation
Gardner (pictured): ‘It is unbelievable the Governor of the state of Missouri would seek advice from one of the most divisive leaders in our generation to overpower the discretion of a locally elected prosecutor’
‘Today, both the Governor and Donald Trump came after me for doing my job and investigating a case,’ wrote Gardner.
‘While they continue to play politics with the handling of this matter, spreading misinformation and distorting the truth, I refuse to do so.’
Gardner added that she is reviewing all available facts and that the law will be applied to the McCloskey’s – regardless of who’s intervening.
‘It is unbelievable the Governor of the state of Missouri would seek advice from one of the most divisive leaders in our generation to overpower the discretion of a locally elected prosecutor,’ wrote Gardner.
Pictured: Patricia and Mark McCloskey standing in front of their mansion with firearms as Black Lives Matter protesters walk through the private neighborhood
Protesters pictured gathered in front of Mark and Patricia McCloskey’s home on July 3
‘It is also incredible that at a time when our nation is dealing with a rapidly spreading deadly virus and our State reported a record number of new infections, they are launching these dog-whistle attacks against me. They should be focused on their jobs, & I’ll focus on mine.’
But it’s unclear how Trump would intervene in the investigation given the federal government has no jurisdiction and could become a legal matter based on the assistance.
The incident began on June 28 Black Lives Matter protesters walked down the McCloskey’s street in search of Mayor Krewson’s home.
They demanded Krewson resign after she released the names and addresses of residents who had suggested defunding the police department.
The McCloskey’s claimed demonstrators broke their gate. While the protesters admitted to trespassing on the private street, they’ve denied breaking any property.
The family’s attorney claimed there is no basis for criminal charges, but authorities still seized the gun’s pointed at protesters.
Authorities took the AR-15 that had been held by Mark, but the handgun was in the possession of their attorney. Those arms were reportedly legally owned.
Pictured: Patricia McCloskey holding a handgun at Black Lives Matter protesters when they walked through the neighborhood on June 28
The handgun was in the attorney’s possession as evidence to prove it was inoperable when Patricia aimed it at protesters ‘in defense of themselves and their home at [the] time of the march,’ reports Fox News.
‘They want to indict me…they’re trying to socially intimidate us but we did nothing wrong. We’re not going to be intimidated and we’re not going to back down,’ Mark McCloskey said on Hannity Tuesday night.
He believes that the second night of protests in front of his home, Trump sent in people to ‘defend’ his neighborhood.
‘I think we got help from the very top. That night, we had cooperation, I think, from the federal government, from the state government, the local police department. That night everybody stood up like champs but it came from the top down,’ he added.
He maintains that he and his wife did nothing wrong in the incident.
Sen. Hawley’s Letter to AG Barr: Full
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Dear Attorney General Barr:
As you are well aware, the country is facing a moment of significant public unrest and discord. As many Americans are peacefully exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and protest throughout the country, still others are exploiting this moment as an opportunity to sow violence and destruction.
Too often, peaceful demonstrations have devolved into tense standoffs or violent riots, with threats and attacks on businesses, innocent bystanders, and law enforcement officers.
One such incident occurred in St. Louis, Missouri, where a family reportedly faced a mass of demonstrators trespassing on their property and threatening them. When help from the police or from nearby security failed to arrive, this family, the McCloskeys, did what any reasonable person would do: they retrieved their lawfully owned firearms and defended their property and their lives. The confrontation was resolved with no one being hurt.
Unfortunately, this family is facing new threats, not from demonstrators but from the local government. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is now threatening to prosecute not the trespassers, but the McCloskeys, and she is using the powers of her office to target them.
Her office has seized their firearms, and police have applied for warrants in the case, with an indictment believed to be imminent. 
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. 
The Second Amendment is not a second-class right. No family should face the threat of harassment or malicious prosecution for exercising that right. The Department of Justice must ensure that all Americans’ rights are protected from this kind of abuse of power.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Source: Sen. Josh Hawley’s Website
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