The video of a St. Louis couple brandishing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters has gone viral on social media. The couple, Mark McCloskey (63) and Patricia McCloskey (61), held a rifle and handgun and pointed them at the protesters outside their house. This act brought them both praise and criticism. Among the couple's supporters is President Donald Trump, who retweeted the video on Monday.
The couple issued statements to express their support for the BLM movement and explain their actions. They said they feared for their lives and used the weapons in self-defense.
In a statement, the McCloskeys said that the protesters marched on their private street and that they were terrified that they could be murdered within seconds, their house burned down and pets killed. The couple called 911 and grabbed their guns as they heard the approaching crowd, KMOV4 reported.
They alleged that the protesters broke the iron gate of Portland Place, destroyed it and approached their home, when they were having dinner. They also claimed they received death threats.
The protesters were not marching towards the McCloskeys, but towards the home of St Louis mayor Lyda Krewson. She held a Facebook Live briefing in which she called out the names and addresses of those who wrote to her urging her to take action towards defunding the police.
Amid criticism, the video was taken down and Krewson apologized, stating that she didn't intend to cause distress. Over 500 protesters then marched towards her residence on Sunday to demand her resignation. The McCloskeys' residence is in the same neighborhood as Krewson's.
Support for Black Lives Matter protests
In a separate statement, the couple, both personal injury lawyers, said they are long-time civil rights advocates and support the Black Lives Matter movement. In fact, in their statement, they blamed a few white individuals for tarnishing the movement.
Rasheen Aldridge, who led the protest organized by a group called 'Expect Us', said that no threats were made and the protest was peaceful. On being asked why they marched on a private property, he said that just like in many disobedient protests, some laws are broken to make people uncomfortable. But they didn't hurt or put anyone in danger, he added.