Missouri governor suggests pardon for St. Louis couple: ‘They had every right to protect themselves’

Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) announced Friday that he would likely grant a pardon to St. Louis residents Mark and Patricia McCloskey if they are charged for confronting protesters on their property while holding guns, The Hill reported.

The McCloskeys did not fire a single shot during the incident and said they were protecting their property after protesters destroyed a “No Trespassing” sign and broke the gate leading into their closed community, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Mark McCloskey brandished a rifle, while his wife carried a small handgun.

“I just held my ground, protecting my house, and I’m sitting here on television tonight instead of dead or putting out the smoldering embers of my home,” Mark McCloskey later told Fox News, according to The Hill. Take a look at video of the incident, first shared by NPR:

Standing their ground

Despite Mark McCloskey’s assertion to Fox that he “didn’t shoot anybody,” the couple soon after found themselves facing possible charges at the hands of St. Louis prosecutor Kimberly Gardner, who opened an investigation into the couple less than 48 hours after the incident. Her office has also seized the rifle seen in video as evidence, as a report from Breitbart noted.

“I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protesters were met by guns,” Gardner said, according to Breitbart. “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.”

But it seems Gov. Parson isn’t so sure the McCloskeys deserve to face jail time. As The Hill reported, when asked by host Marc Cox on a radio program Friday whether he would consider a pardon for the McCloskeys, the governor said, “I think that’s exactly what would happen.”

The right to defend

Parson went on to defend the McCloskeys’ right to defend their property, alluding to Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine” that allows the use of lethal force to protect one’s private property.

The McCloskeys “did what they legally should do,” Parson said, according to The Hill. “A mob does not have the right to charge your property. They had every right to protect themselves.

“You don’t know until you hear all the facts,” the governor added. “But right now, if this is all about going after them for doing a lawful act, then yeah…I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail.”

“It’s a disgrace”

As of Monday morning, the McCloskeys had not yet been charged with any crimes, but Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (R) and President Donald Trump have also already weighed in, with Trump calling the investigation “a disgrace” and Hawley asking the Justice Department to investigate Gardner to see whether the investigation violates the McCloskeys’ civil rights, according to The Hill.

“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,” the president told Townhall last week, as The Hill reported. “And now…they want to prosecute these people. It’s a disgrace.”

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