Was the St. Louis couple justified in brandishing firearms at protesters in front of their house?
- The McCloskeys, both personal-injury attorneys, live in a mansion that has been valued at more than $1 million.
- Mark and Patricia McCloskey told the police that they heard a commotion and saw “a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs.' McCloskey repeatedly shouted “private property” and “get out” at the protesters walking roughly 20 yards away.
- The group of at least 500 people were heading toward Mayor Lyda Krewson's home, chanting, 'Resign Lyda, take the cops with you,' news outlets reported. CBS
- Krewson read the names and addresses of demonstrators calling for police reform during a Friday afternoon Facebook Live video. The video has since been deleted and Krewson issued an apology later that day. A spokesperson for the mayor said she will not resign.
- Albert Watkins, the McCloskeys' attorney, told Fox News that under Missouri's Castle Doctrine, a person has “the absolute unmitigated right to protect his or her castle or family while on their property.” He said the protesters were trespassing, 'damaging and destroying private property and acting in a threatening and hostile fashion.'
While Mark and Patricia McCloskey are well within their rights to own firearms and to use them to defend themselves from immediate threats, no such threat existed to justify their response to protestors passing by their St. Louis house.
Media portrays a couple who have had difficulty arriving at a clear description of events as they happened, perhaps compelling them toward a more dramatic story.
Daniel Shular, a journalist present for the duration of the 10-minute incident, reported that the gate Mark McCloskey claimed to have been 'smashed through' by protestors had, in fact, been open, and protestors had simply walked through it. McCloskey has also referred to the protestors as 'terrorists.'
BLM supporters had turned into the couple's private street in a gated community due to roadblocks erected to detain protesters from arriving at their objective, Mayor Lyda Krewson's home.
The couple stated that they'd armed themselves in response to seeing 'two white, armed protestors,' saying that the 'agitators were white,' in a statement released by the lawyer now retained by the couple.
Had the McCloskeys genuinely felt they were under threat, they would most likely have gone inside their well-fortified home to wait for the protestors to pass. But the McCloskeys instead took it upon themselves to threaten lethal force against people who were just passing through, with no intention of causing harm.
Despite Missouri's 'Castle Doctrine,' which permits the use of lethal force when residents feel threatened, Mark and Patricia McCloskey seem to have mistaken ordinary people walking down their private street for something dangerous.
Yes, the McCloskeys of St. Louis--both knowledgeable, prominent local attorneys--were in their legal and moral right to brandish weapons on their own property, at the entrance of their own home, after a large crowd of protesters allegedly broke through a protective wrought iron fence and locked gate.
After the large group of demonstrators walked into the neighborhood, which legally has 'no public sidewalks or public streets', and which is considered entirely private property, the McCloskeys legitimately feared for their lives, their historic home and its contents, and the life of their pet.
Missouri's own 'Castle Doctrine,' as well as Federal laws, support the actions of this St. Louis couple in defending their home and property by showing a loaded pistol and rifle, once they legitimately felt that the street's invaders could threaten their lives and property.
According to the couple, who never left the confines and perimeter of their own house, they didn't even reach for their firearms until they felt fear and physically threatened by the growing, chanting crowd.
The protests that have led to burning, looting, and destruction across the urban landscape of our country finally reached the suburbs. Not surprisingly, two St. Louis residents, who felt under attack, fought back with the full authority of the laws that support their right to defend themselves and their home--in this case by publicly brandishing weapons to show trespassing demonstrators that they mean business.