Assault-rifle wielding lawyers who confronted peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters face charges of making threats – The Sun

THE fearsome assault-rifle wielding lawyers who confronted peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters could be charged for making threats.

Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis, Kimberly Gardner, declared that "we will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable".

Footage of white couple Mark McCloskey, 63, and his 61-year-old wife, Patricia, outside their Renaissance palazzo-style home has gone viral, after they squared up to BLM demonstrators in the city's posh Central West End neighborhood.

The pair burst out of their front door brandishing guns, to the surprise of several hundred white and Black protesters on Sunday.

He could be heard yelling while holding a long-barreled gun. His wife stood next to him clutching a handgun.

No charges have been brought against the McCloskeys – who later said they feared for their lives.

Cops said they were still investigating but labeled it as a case of trespassing and assault by intimidation against the couple by protesters.

However, Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner issued a statement later on Monday saying her office was working with police to investigate the public confrontation.

She said: “I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protestors were met by guns and a violent assault.

"We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.

“My office is currently working with the public and police to investigate these events.

"Make no mistake: 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.”

Mark McCloskey told KMOV-TV that he and his wife, who are personal injury lawyers, were facing an angry mob on their private street and feared for their lives.

Their attorney, Albert Watkins, told the Associated Press that the couple are long-time civil rights advocates and support the BLM's message.

He said they grabbed their guns when two or three protesters who were white allegedly violently threatened the couple, their property and that of their neighbors.

Watkins said: "The most important thing for them is that their images (holding the guns) don't become the basis for a rallying cry for people who oppose the Black Lives Matter message.

"They want to make it really clear that they believe the BLM message is important."

Cops said the couple had heard a loud commotion in the street and saw a large group of people break an iron gate marked with No Trespassing and Private Street signs.

Video showed the protesters walking through the gate and it was unclear when it was damaged.

Reuters photographer Lawrence Bryant was among those capturing the confrontation.

He told the news agency he became concerned upon seeing Patricia McCloskey joining her armed husband in the front of their house holding a handgun.

Bryant said: “She had her finger on the trigger and looked nervous and I became a little bit more worried, as there were kids out there and she was sporadically pointing the gun at random people.

“I just was trying to make frames. Trying to stay safe, trying to dodge the barrel of the gun and stay out of sight and out of line.

"I’m a big, Black man and I always have to pay attention to that anyway.

“A lot of the photos out there focus on them holding the guns, but to me that’s not telling the whole story.

“I wanted to show there were people protesting peacefully and they came to engage them.”

The couple's lawyer told Reuters: “Their actions were borne solely of fear and apprehension, the genesis of which was not race related.

"In fact, the agitators responsible for the trepidation were white."

The McCloskeys' home, which was featured in the local St. Louis Magazine after undergoing a renovation, has been appraised at $1.15million.

The marchers were in the area as they were angry at Mayor Lyda Krewson for reading aloud the names and addresses of several residents who wrote letters calling for defunding of the police department.

The group of at least 500 people chanted, "Resign, Lyda! Take the cops with you."

Krewson has apologized, saying she didn't intend to cause distress.

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