Felony dropped for couple confronted by racial justice protesters. St. Louis needs to “cough up my guns,” the man says.


ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis judge on Wednesday threw out the felony convictions of a local attorney and his wife after pardoning them for pointing guns at racial justice protesters outside their Central West End mansion in 2020.

Immediately after his sentencing, Mark McCloskey demanded the city return the two guns seized as part of his guilty plea to assault, he said in an interview Thursday.

“It’s time for the city to cough up my guns,” he said.

If not, he says, he will file a new lawsuit.

The removals, which came over objections from prosecutors and police, marked the latest development in a four-year saga that began in the summer of 2020 when McCloskey and his wife Patricia emerged from their Portland Place home and armed with weapons waved at people. walking by during a protest against the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

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The McCloskeys, who said they were protecting their property from protesters entering the private street, were charged with multiple felonies by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner. Gardner was later disqualified from prosecution after mentioning their case in campaign emails.


Armed homeowners Mark T. and Patricia N. McCloskey stand outside their Central West End home June 28 and confront protesters.

(Photo by Laurie Skrivan, [email protected])

Laurie Skrivan,

A special prosecutor took over and indicted the McCloskeys on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence. They later reached an agreement in which Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and his wife, Patricia McCloskey, pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment, both felonies.

As part of that agreement, the McCloskeys turned in the Colt AR-15 rifle and a Bryco .380-caliber pistol they held during the confrontation on Portland Place and paid an $872.50 fine.

Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, later pardoned the couple, and McCloskey sued in 2021 to get his guns back. Judges denied that request and a subsequent appeal.

Meanwhile, McCloskey launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. He has also become involved in a controversial effort to adopt a statewide Republican Party candidate screening protocol to weed out candidates who are not “real Republicans.”

Then, in January 2024, the McCloskeys filed a petition to vacate the couple’s felony convictions. They testified at a hearing in March and argued that they have been upstanding citizens since their guilty plea. Mark McCloskey said he has continued to practice law and fight for his clients.

However, attorneys for the city’s public safety department asked protesters to testify about how the McCloskeys’ actions affected them. They also questioned the couple about advertisements for Mark McCloskey’s subsequent political campaign, which featured footage of the incident.

The city and St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gabe Gore’s Office argued that the couple poses an ongoing threat to public safety and has shown no remorse for the impact of their actions.

But Judge Joseph P. Whyte wrote in an order that the protesters’ testimony demonstrated a threat to public safety on June 28, 2020 — and not in the time since.

The purpose of an expungement, he wrote, is to give people who have rehabilitated themselves a second chance. McCloskey’s campaign rhetoric is protected by the First Amendment and is not evidence of an ongoing threat, Whyte said.

“It appears that the parties have attempted to make political arguments in these proceedings,” Whyte wrote. “However, this court need only look at the relevant language in the statute.”

Mark McCloskey and his attorney Joel Schwartz speak to the press outside the Carnahan Courthouse following a court appearance on Tuesday, October 6…

Missouri Governor Mike Parson says the city’s attorney general is trying to take away the McCloskey’s rights and that he has spoken to the president…

A closer look at the June 28, 2020 confrontation between Mark and Patricia McCloskey and protesters in front of their home. Video of Jerem…