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'It's a small victory' | Protesters react to McCloskeys' indictment for standoff with protesters

Grand jurors returned indictments for brandishing a weapon and evidence tampering. Protesters say it sends the right message

ST. LOUIS — Mark and Patricia McCloskey's Tuesday morning status update for the charge against them — unlawful use of a weapon — was delayed nearly a week as the grand jury considered indictments. Within hours, they had an answer. 

Grand jurors returned a true bill indicting the McCloskeys not only with brandishing a weapon, but also one count each for tampering with evidence.

"Every single human being who was in front of my house was a criminal trespasser," Mark McCloskey said. "They broke down the gate. They trespassed on our property."

Patricia McCloskey has previously told police the handgun she used during the June 28 confrontation was inoperable because she had used it as a prop during a trial against a gun manufacturer.

The McCloskeys' attorney, Joel Schwartz, said he was also not surprised to hear about the charges.

"I'm not surprised because the powers that be in the city have chosen to issue charges against Mr. and Mrs. McCloskey, and — up to this point in time — they've had no right to defend themselves. Once we have the ability to present ourselves in court, I think we can rectify the situation," Schwartz said.

A representative from the ExpectUS group who took part in the protest provided a statement to 5 On Your Side that reads in part: "While we do consider this a small victory for our First Amendment rights, it is small nonetheless. The un-elected Governor of Missouri — along with the current occupant of the Oval Office — have made claims that the indicted privileged couple be will be pardoned for their threatening act against non-violent protestors."

Gov. Mike Parson has said he would pardon the McCloskeys should they be convicted.

"With just a click of a finger, you could have killed somebody," community organizer Maxi Glamour said.

Glamour was part of the crowd that crossed paths with the McCloskeys June 28.

"These are the 'Elite' that are running St. Louis. These are the uber-wealthy. We need to get that out of power. We need to hold them accountable and disarm them."

Cori Bush -- a Democrat running for Missouri's 1st Congressional House Seat -- was at the June protest and was name-checked by the McCloskey's during their appearance for the Republican National Convention.

"At a time when so many white supremacists in this country believe that they can and will get away with their misconduct, I am glad to see the justice system holding them to account today," Bush said. "The movement that I represent is built on a love for all humanity. There’s room for all people in it, including the McCloskeys — whenever they’re ready to join us on the right side of history.” 

The McCloskeys' are scheduled for another court appearance Oct. 14. It is unclear, though possible, they will be arraigned at that time. They've already filed a motion to disqualify Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner as the prosecutor. 

Gardner's office has not responded to multiple requests from 5 On Your Side for comment today.

Contact reporter Sara Machi on Facebook and Twitter.

Full statements from ExpectUS and Cori Bush are included below:

ExpectUS

"While we do consider this a small victory for our First Amendment Rights, it is small nonetheless. The un-elected Governor of Missouri -- along with the current occupant of the Oval Office -- have made claims that the indicted privileged couple will be pardoned for their threatening act against non-violent protestors.

Consider that if the incident in question were different -- where the ones who brandished the weapons illegally and the ones who were protesting all looked differently, there wouldn’t be a single major political figure coming to their defense for the sake of a racially divisive narrative.

Protestors standing up for the rights of Black lives continue to be the victims of threats by those like the indicted couple.

We appreciate the will and decision of the courts but we also understand that there are many protections provided towards those who are affluent and tote said racially divisive narrative."

Cori Bush, Democratic nominee (MO-01)

“It has been unfortunate to watch the McCloskeys embrace a movement so deeply rooted in white supremacy over the last few months. Following their reckless endangerment of hundreds of protestors, they relished in the bigotry of their movement by appearing at the Republican National Convention and printing and signing photos of the incident to hand out at events like some sort of two-bit celebrities. At a time when so many white supremacists in this country believe that they can and will get away with their misconduct, I am glad to see the justice system holding them to account today. The movement that I represent is built on a love for all humanity. There’s room for all people in it, including the McCloskeys—whenever they’re ready to join us on the right side of history.”