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Protesters respond to charges filed against couple who brandished guns at them; State rep says he's been getting death threats

ExpectUS shared a statement on its Facebook Tuesday morning

ST. LOUIS — Protesters who had guns brandished at them while walking through a Central West End neighborhood have responded to the charges filed against the couple seen with the guns.

ExpectUS held a protest on June 28. Protesters planned to walk to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house after she had read names and addresses of protesters during one of her briefings who called on the city to defund police. She has since apologized and took down the Facebook Live video.

On July 20, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey. Both were charged with one count of unlawful use of a weapon.

Missouri state representative Rasheen Aldridge said since the protest he's been getting threatening messages.

"You got lucky, Rasheeda, Rasheeny or whatever the f--- your name is," one man said in a voicemail. "You picked a lucky house. If you would have gone after my house, you would be a dead Black b----," said one man on a voicemail.

“Nobody wants this s--- in this country,” said a woman in another voicemail.

Aldridge was one of a few hundred people who say they were peacefully marching to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson.

"It has been non-stop since the action at the McCloskeys house," he said. "Individuals saying 'You were on their property, you deserve to get shot, you don't deserve to live.'"

ExpectUS shared a statement on its Facebook Tuesday morning, below is the full statement

“On June 28, 2020 ExpectUS, held a protest in response to the St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson, who purposely doxxed multiple citizens within the region. Krewson’s act of political terrorism was an inexcusable, violent attack against the community of protestors. On the evening of June 28th, protestors decided to meet in the Central West End with the goal of marching to Lyda Krewson’s house, to explain the harm she caused members of the community. During the route, organizers decided to spilt up and take two different paths to the Mayor’s home. One of those routes was a turn onto Patricia and Mark McCloskey’s street. Instantly, upon turning on the street, protestors were met with multiple guns carelessly being waved and pointed at them. The McCloskey’s had with their fingers on the trigger while also spewing hatred and threats towards the protestors walking past their home.

No one went near Patricia, Mark or their home, as the goal of the protest was Mayor Lyda Krewson. This incident was a traumatizing experience for the entire crowd. It was just one misstep, one trip, one wrong pull away from a massacre and tragedy. Immediately following the incident, mainstream news gave a space and platform for Mark McCloskey to blatantly lie and create a false narrative of the events that took place. Across the nation, we have watched video after video of White citizens maliciously weaponize “fear” to cause harm and damage to the Black and Brown community. The McCloskey’s utilized the same story despite there being video evidence to prove otherwise.

Kim Gardner, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney said she would not allow intimidation to infringe on the first amendment rights of the protestors and planned to prosecute the McCloskey’s to the fullest extent of the law. On July 20th, Kim Gardner charged the Patricia and Mark McCloskey with a Class D felony. Automatically, the Governor Mike Parson said he would intervene. The Attorney General, Eric Schmitt said he will seek to have the case dismissed. This is systemic racism and White privilege working in its purest form.

Systems of oppression, that range from blatant racism to police brutality, traditionally goes above and beyond to protect White privilege, while simultaneously vilifying Black lives and movements. The community of protestors suffered mental and emotional trauma that day, by having deadly weapons aimed at them unjustifiably. Now, the community is being neglected by those people in positions of power who promised to protect and serve the citizens of St. Louis. The Governor and the Attorney General are fully aware of the truth and reckless danger the McCloskey’s caused on June 28th, yet, they are willingly choosing the side of injustice. The organizers of ExpectUS, hope that this egregious disregard for the lives and safety of protestors, sheds light to how deep systematic racism is embedded, not only this country, but right here in St. Louis, MO.”

The unlawful use of a weapon charge is a class E felony, which can carry a sentence of up to four years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

According to the probable cause statement, Mark McCloskey screamed at protesters as he was armed with a semi-automatic rifle. Court documents said he lowered the rifle and pointed it at the group of protesters walking through the gate and onto the street and sidewalk of Portland Place.

The probable cause statement said Patricia McCloskey was armed with what was later determined to be a semi-automatic handgun. Court documents said she began yelling at the protesters to “go” while pointing the gun with her finger on the trigger at protesters.

The probable cause statement also said since June 28, the McCloskeys have made public statements describing the incident – it also said Mark McCloskey has repeatedly acknowledged he and his wife brandished the weapons.

Gov. Parson called St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s actions towards the couple “outrageous.”

Also on Monday evening, Missouri Attorney General Eric Eric Schmitt filed a brief in the case of Mark and Patricia McCloskey supporting the Castle Doctrine law and seeking dismissal of the charges filed against the couple.

On June 29, Mark McCloskey told 5 On Your Side one person pulled out some “loaded pistol magazine and clicked them together and said, ‘that you were next.’”

On July 14, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden said in a Zoom interview with 5 On Your Side’s Casey Nolen he hasn’t seen any video that indicated the protesters were armed.

“I didn't see anything in that video that would indicate some protesters were armed, but I certainly can't say that with any degree of certainty,” Hayden said.

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