The couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who are both personal injury attorneys, were charged with unlawful use of a weapon.
In a statement, Gardner said, “It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner. That is unlawful in the city of St. Louis.”
“We must protect the right to peacefully protest and any attempt to chill it through intimidation will not be tolerated,” she added.
After the incident, in which the protesters broke down a gate to the community and entered private property, Gardner described the actions by the McCloskey’s as a “violent assault” on the protesters.
Mark McCloskey said the protesters threatened to kill the couple (and their dog) and feared for their lives when the protesters entered their property.
Explaining the scene, Mark McCLoskey said,
“One person pulled out some loaded pistol magazines and clicked them together and said that you were next. We were threatened with our lives, threatened with the house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog’s life being threatened. It was about as bad as it can get.
“I really thought it was storming the Bastille, that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it. It was a huge and frightening crowd.”
— Daniel Shular (@xshularx) June 29, 2020
The charges brought by Gardner against the McCloskey’s were met with stiff opposition from Missouri’s attorney general Eric Schmitt, who filed for their dismissal.
Schmitt also accused Gardner of prosecuting the couple for political purposes.
In addition to violating the couple’s Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms in self-defense of one’s person and home, Schmitt said the prosecution violated Missouri’s “castle” doctrine:
Citizens shouldn’t be targeted for exercising their #2A right to self-defense
STL prosecutor Kim Gardner is engaged in a political prosecution
As AG I’m entering the case seeking a dismissal & defend all Missourians’ right to protect their lives/property pic.twitter.com/kQLXOAhFIz
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 20, 2020
Earlier last week, Missouri Governor Parson said the law is on the side of the McCloskey’s. “They have the ability to do that as private citizens like everyone else,” said Parson. “But what they should not go through is a prosecutor attempting to take their Constitutional rights away by filing charges against them for protecting their property.”
Parson also noted that President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr were reviewing the case.
When asked if he would pardon the McCloskey’s if convicted, Parson said, “I think that’s exactly what would happen.”
For her part, Gardner commented that she would consider ending the case if the McCloskey’s successfully completed community service through a diversion program.
Gardner and Schmitt have feuded previously, when Schmitt lambasted Gardner for releasing all 36 rioters and looters that were arrested in the protests following the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
In a stunning development, our office has learned that every single one of the St. Louis looters and rioters arrested were released back onto the streets by local prosecutor Kim Gardner. pic.twitter.com/tMZVAyHssw
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) June 3, 2020
Gardner said at the time that only eight of the cases were referred to her office and that the police did not provide “admissible evidence.”
Gardner was the center of controversy during her campaign when she released an ad paid for by the Safety and Justice Super PAC, which is partially funded by George Soros.
According to a 2016 report by Politico, Soros has been contributing money to the political campaigns of local prosecutors in an effort to “advance one of the progressive movement’s core goals — reshaping the American justice system.”
“The billionaire financier has channeled more than $3 million into seven local district-attorney campaigns in six states over the past year — a sum that exceeds the total spent on the 2016 presidential campaign by all but a handful of rival super-donors,” reported Politico.