The St. Louis couple at the center of a controversy following their confrontation with Black Lives Matter protesters have said they were the victims in the incident. "I was a person scared for my life, protecting my wife, my home, my hearth, my livelihood. I was a victim of a mob that came through the gate ... These things get very bad very quickly," Mark McCloskey said during an interview on CNN.
Amid speculations that the protesters threatened lawyer couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey in Portland Place, Missouri, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner is investigating the case. While Missouri has seen a noticeable rise in the number of gun crimes in the past few years, the act of the gun-toting couple has irked some residents in St Louis.
The St Louis Metropolitan Police Department has recorded the statements of the McCloskeys, who said they are the 'victims'. The statements are yet to be taken from the protesters who allegedly broke open the iron gate of McCloskey mansion in Portland Place on Sunday.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey are personal injury lawyers and owners of McCloskey Law Center. Mark, 63, has called the protesters 'Marxists' and 'terrorists' who really did not care about the Black Lives Matter movement. Allegations until now have only been registered from the couple's side, whose house is till now considered to be under attack from the agitators.
The protesters were protesting against St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, and were headed to her mansion, seeking her resignation. Owing to the nationwide protests after George Floyd's killing, this group of protesters had written to Krewson and demanded disbanding and defunding of St Louis police. In response, Krewson publicly read the names of those who had written these letters to her. Those who wrote it were angered with her reaction, while the ACLU Missouri said: "It serves no apparent purpose beyond intimidation. We are stronger when we foster open dialogue. The chilling of debate should bother everyone, no matter whether they agree or disagree with the mayor on this particular issue."
The protesters passing by McCloskey's mansion were in a fit of rage, as their names were public, and they were concerned that the police department also knows them by now. Referring to the alleged damage to the gate of McCloskey mansion, Mark claimed: "A mob of at least 100 smashed through the historic wrought iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed towards my home where my family was having dinner outside and put us in fear of our lives."
However, the Attorney of St Louis circuit, Kimberly Gardner, has promised a fair probe into the matter. A day after the incident, in a media briefing, Gardner said she was considering the statements from all three ends – McCloskeys, the protesters (public) and the police. She said: "Make no mistake, the circuit attorney's office we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights, and will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable"
Meanwhile, attorney for the couple, Albert Watkins, said that McCloskeys are 'for the Black Lives Matter movement'. He further alleged that there were two or three from the entire group who threatened the couple – and these were white men, he added.
In the meantime, the strongest evidence the St Louis police has recorded against the agitators reads: "The victims advised the group that they were on a private street and trespassing and asked them to leave. The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both (victims). When the (victims) observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police."