Yesterday I pointed out that if St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner were to charge Mark and Patricia McCloskey for protecting their property from protesters without filing a case against Terrence Page for assaulting a man at demonstration in downtown St. Louis, she’d be opening herself up to charges that she’s using her office to play politics instead of seeking justice. Well, Page has now officially been arrested and charged with four counts of assault, which I think makes it a near certainty that the McCloskeys will soon face charges as well.
KSDK-TV has some of the details on the charges against Page, which are the result of an assault that took place the day before the McCloskeys drew their firearms after protesters broke down a gate and entered the private neighborhood where they live.
The charges stem from a protest at the base of the famous [Louis IX] statue that sits at the top of Art Hill. The statue has been under scrutiny for several weeks now. Protesters have gathered around it calling for it to be removed, while others have been praying at the base defending it.
On Saturday, June 27, officers received a call for an assault that happened at the statue earlier in the day at about 2:15 p.m. A 37-year-old man said he was at the protest when someone slapped his head several times. The man wasn’t injured but went home and called police.
Later, police said three more men also were victims of an assault during the protest.
Page has proudly admitted that he was the one who assaulted several individuals, accusing them of being members of the KKK or white supremacists for praying at the statue, yet it took weeks for Gardner to officially charge him for his crimes. Now that he’s in custody, expect Gardner to move quickly in charging the McCloskeys as well.
Mark McCloskey was on Tucker Carlson’s show on Monday night and said he believes an indictment is “imminent,” but as my colleague Ed Morrissey at Hot Air points out, the case against the couple is so weak that it’s going to be awfully difficult for Gardner to win in court.
Consider the context: cities are burning from Minneapolis to New York to Los Angeles. An angry mob breaks down the gate on the property and begins illegally demonstrating on private property, which the McCloskeys have the right to defend. What would a reasonable person conclude? They would likely conclude that their property and maybe their lives were in danger, which means they could use lethal force to protect themselves and their property, according to state law. If Gardner could find twelve jurors to ignore all of that — which I seriously doubt — she won’t find an appellate court that will. The McCloskeys reportedly tend to be litigious too, so the county has to decide whether they want to risk paying out millions in a wrongful prosecution lawsuit just to conduct a stunt trial pour encourager les autres.
When Gardner made her first comments about the McCloskey case, my first guess was that she would ultimately forgo charges against the couple and choose instead to rail against the Castle Doctrine in Missouri, as well as maybe call for a few more gun control laws and try to fundraise off the issue. I still think the fundraising is likely to happen, but at the moment it appears that Gardner believes she can make more political hay by prosecuting the pair rather than using them as the primary example of why Missouri needs to ban AR-15s and pass other “commonssense” gun control laws.
Just like the aggravated assault charges filed against Steven Ray Baca in Albuquerque, however, prosecutors in the McCloskey case are going to run up against a big problem once this case moves into a courtroom: the right of self-defense. Unlike Baca, the McCloskeys weren’t actually attacked and never had to use their firearms in self-defense, but the pair do have a right under Missouri law to protect their home and lives with lethal force if necessary. The court of public opinion may largely dismiss those rights, but hopefully a judge and a jury will adhere to the Constitution, and not the capricious whims of the mob.