Mark McCloskey and Patricia McCloskey hold a pistol and semi-automatic rifle as protesters walk past their house en route to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's home during a protest march in St. Louis on June 28. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
June 17 (UPI) -- A St. Louis couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters walking by their home last year pleaded guilty Thursday to assault and harassment charges.
The plea agreement means that neither Mark McCloskey nor Patricia McCloskey will face more serious felony weapons charges.
Mark McCloskey, 64, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and was fined $750. Patricia McCloskey, 62, pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment and will pay a $2,000 fine. Neither will face jail time.
The McCloskeys were caught on camera in June 2020 brandishing firearms at protesters who walked past their home on a march to the mayor's home. The couple pleaded not guilty to the more serious charges in October, but a new plea agreement was reached after special prosecutor Richard Callahan amended charges, allowing jurors to convict the McCloskeys on the misdemeanors.
The couple said they felt threatened by the protesters, who they accused of breaking down an iron gate and ignoring a "no trespassing" sign. Participants in the demonstration denied damaging the gate and said the march was peaceful.
"The prosecutor dropped every charge except for alleging that I purposely placed other people in imminent risk of physical injury, right, and I sure as heck did," Mark McCloskey, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"That's what the guns were there for and I'd do it again any time the mob approaches me, I'll do what I can to place them in imminent threat of physical injury because that's what kept them from destroying my house."
Callahan described the protesters as "a racially mixed and peaceful group, including women and children, who simply made a wrong turn on their way to protest in front of the mayor's house. There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realized they had ventured into a private enclave."
In addition to the fine, the McCloskeys must forfeit the guns.