St. Louis officials will not prosecute nine Black Lives Matter protestors who were charged with trespassing after a confrontation with a gun-wielding couple protecting their home during a demonstration earlier this month, Fox News reports.
Deputy City Counselor Michael Garvin in a statement to the St. Louis Dispatch on Tuesday said that “prosecution is not warranted” in the case and that the charges would be refused. Prosecutors investigated each of the cases through the review of multiple videos, property documents and interviews.
However, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple defending their home in the St. Louis private neighborhood, have found themselves charged with unlawful use of a weapon, which is a felony.
Garvin said residents who are trustees of the private Portland Place neighborhood, did not want to pursue trespassing charges. The nine protestors were issued trespassing citations earlier this month.
The couple made headlines when Mark McCloskey was seen outside defending his home armed with an AR-15 rifle and his wife with a semiautomatic handgun during a confrontation with “Black Lives Matters” protestors passing by en route to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house. The McCloskey’s told officers protesters broke down a gate at the neighborhood’s entrance to gain access to the street, prompting them to take action.
The McCloskeys’ lawyer, Joel Schwartz, said Tuesday that just because charges were dropped does not mean protesters were not trespassing.
“It was clearly trespassing and the McCloskeys were clearly within their rights to do what they did,” he said.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Governor Mike Parson, both Republicans, have vowed to pardon the couple if they are convicted.