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A husband and wife have been charged for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home.
Named as lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey, apparently the couple felt ‘threatened’ so drew guns on the protesters that were near their $1.15 million mansion in St. Louis, Missouri.
In the video shared last month, the couple dubbed ‘Ken and Karen’ can be seen coming outside their home boasting an assault-style rifle and a small handgun. Demonstrators were heading to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson when they were confronted by them.
St. Louis’ top prosecutor has since dubbed their actions as ‘unacceptable’ and said it was lucky the incident didn’t escalate.
As per BBC News, Kim Gardner, the city’s first black circuit attorney, said:
It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St Louis.
We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation will not be tolerated.
Nearly a month since the ordeal took place, the McCloskeys were charged by the Circuit Attorney’s Office in St. Louis with unlawful use of a weapon yesterday as well as a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree assault, yesterday July 20.
The charge is a Class E felony that carries a possible penalty of up to four years in prison – however Gardner isn’t seeking jail time for them and would rather place them on a diversion programme, reported The New York Times.
In a statement, the couple’s lawyer, Joel J. Schwartz, called the charges ‘disheartening’ and claims that his clients support the freedom of speech.
He added their their charges ‘must be balanced with the Second Amendment and Missouri law, which entitle each of us to protect our home and family from potential threats’.
Along with their lawyer, attorney general of Missouri Eric Schmitt is also on the McCloskeys’ side and has filed a motion to have their charges dismissed.
In a statement Schmitt said:
The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine. This provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm.
Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed charges against the McCloskey’s, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety. As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored – that’s why I entered this case to seek its dismissal, to protect the rights of Missourians to defend their property under Missouri’s Castle Doctrine.
This isn’t the first incident the McCloskeys have been involved in. According to legal documents, the couple have been embroiled in a three-year legal battle with Portland Place over a small piece of the property. While the McCloskeys say they own the land, the trustees say it belongs to the neighbourhood.
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