While the national news media has completely ignored the mob violence in Milwaukee that left ten officers injured, three people shot, and a family homeless after a crowd burned down their home in the mistaken belief that it was a den for sex traffickers, cable news outlets and papers like the Washington Post have fixated on a husband and wife in St. Louis, Missouri who stood guard outside of their home in a gated community over the weekend as protesters entered the private community to gather outside of the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson.
The couple were caught on multiple video streams pointing a rifle and a handgun in the general direction of the protesters as they yelled at the crowd to leave the private property.
— Daniel Shular (@xshularx) June 29, 2020
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that no shots were fired, and protesters continued their march to Krewson’s home about a block away.
At least 500 people demonstrated in the Central West End, chanting “Resign Lyda, take the cops with you.” They are upset that the mayor released names and addresses of residents who suggested defunding the police department.
For weeks, demonstrators have marched against police violence and held rallies to close the St. Louis Medium Security Institution known as the workhouse.“As a leader, you don’t do stuff like that … it’s only right that we visit her at her home,” said State Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, speaking into a megaphone at the protest Sunday.
A fellow lawyer from Missouri, a guy I know named Mark McCloskey committed an assault tonight in STL by pointing his AR 15 at peaceful protesters. He should be arrested and charged with assault immediately. The MO Bar should revoke their licenses. https://t.co/6N75iFLDtT
— doncalloway (@dcstl) June 29, 2020
According to the Missouri statutes, most assault charge requires actual physical injury, which didn’t happen in this case. In the case of assault in the 4th degree (a misdemeanor charge), prosecutors would have to demonstrate that the McCloskeys either purposely placed another person in apprehension of immediate physical injury or recklessly engaged in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person. I suppose prosecutors could argue that pointing the guns at protesters created a risk of death or serious physical injury even though no one was actually harmed by the McCloskeys, but I’m guessing that the attorneys would argue that they were simply protecting their property from hundreds of people who were trespassing in their gated community.
Others have claimed that the McCloskeys should be arrested for unlawful use of a weapon, for displaying “in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner,” but the state statute has an exemption for those engaged in a lawful act of defense. It’s clear that the couple didn’t leave their property, and while I would have preferred to see the McCloskeys keep their firearms at a low ready position with their fingers off the trigger, I have a very hard time seeing how their actions rise to the level of a criminal offense.