St. Louis couple charged after BLM protest appear in court
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The white St. Louis couple charged for waving guns during a Black Lives Matter protest outside their home in June made their first court appearance Monday on felony charges.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey were in court briefly and did not enter a plea. The judge continued their case until Oct. 6.
After the hearing, the McCloskeys' attorney, Joel Schwartz, said they are innocent of any wrongdoing and they look forward to getting the case resolved.
Several hundred demonstrators on June 28 veered onto the private street where the couple's Renaissance palazzo-style mansion sits. The McCloskeys said the protesters knocked down an iron gate and ignored a “No Trespassing” sign. Protest leaders said the gate was open and the demonstration was peaceful.
Mark McCloskey came out with a semi-automatic rifle and his wife emerged with a semi-automatic handgun. No shots were fired. Missouri law allows homeowners to use force, even lethal force, to defend their homes.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said the guns created the risk of bloodshed. The McCloskeys said they felt threatened.
Last week, the McCloskeys made the case in an opening night speech of the Republican National Convention that they had a “God-given right” to defend themselves and their property.