Josh Hawley
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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By Jim Salter, AP

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley on Thursday urged Attorney General William Barr to launch a federal civil rights investigation of St. Louis’ elected prosecutor, accusing her of abuse of power in her investigation of a white couple who wielded guns while defending their home during a protest.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey are under Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s scrutiny for the June 28 confrontation when several hundred protesters marched by their $1.15 million mansion. The couple accused protesters of knocking down an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs.

The McCloskeys, both in their 60s, emerged with weapons — him with a long-barreled gun, her with a small handgun.

Their actions, captured on video and viewed by millions, drew praise from some who said they were legally defending their home, but scorn from others who said they risked bloodshed by displaying the weapons. Photos emerged as memes on both sides of the gun debate.

Gardner’s office was still investigating, but no charges have been filed. Hawley, a Missouri Republican, wrote in a letter to Barr that Gardner abused her power in seizing the couple’s guns, investigating them and pursuing a possible indictment. He called her actions “an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment.”

“There is no question under Missouri law that the McCloskeys had the right to own and use their firearms to protect themselves from threatened violence, and that any criminal prosecution for these actions is legally unsound,” Hawley wrote. “The only possible motivation for the investigation, then, is a politically motivated attempt to punish this family for exercising their Second Amendment rights.”

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks in St. Louis. Sen. Josh Hawley on Thursday, July, 16, 2020, urged Attorney General William Barr to launch a federal civil rights investigation of St. Louis’ elected prosecutor, accusing Circuit Attorney Gardner of abusing her power in her investigation of Mark and Patricia McCloskey. (AP Photo/Jim Salter, File)

Gardner, in a statement, said, “I am deeply disappointed that a U.S. Senator would intervene in a local matter that is under investigation.”

Hawley isn’t the only high-level Republican to express concerns about Gardner’s investigation. The case caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who spoke by phone with Gov. Mike Parson about it Tuesday.

Parson, when he was in the Legislature, co-authored Missouri’s “castle doctrine” law that justifies deadly force for those who are defending their homes from intruders. He said the McCloskeys “had every right to protect their property.”

Gardner, St. Louis’ first Black circuit attorney, has been at odds with some in the St. Louis establishment since her election in 2016. Most notably, her office charged then-Gov. Eric Greitens with felony invasion of privacy in 2018 for allegedly taking a compromising photo of a woman during an extra-marital affair.

The charge was eventually dropped but Greitens resigned in June 2018.

Gardner also has often butted heads with police leaders, especially after she developed an “exclusion list” of more than two dozen police officers who were barred from serving as primary witnesses in criminal cases over what Gardner called credibility concerns. The move angered Police Chief John Hayden, who also is Black.

In January, Gardner filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city, the local police union and others of a coordinated and racist conspiracy aimed at forcing her out of office. The lawsuit also accused “entrenched interests” of intentionally impeding her efforts to reform racist practices that have led to a loss of trust in the criminal justice system.

The McCloskeys are personal injury attorneys. Their home was initially incidental to the June 28 protest — it was simply on the route demonstrators were taking to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson. The Democratic mayor drew the ire of activists for reading on Facebook Live the names and addresses of some who had called for defunding police.

St. Louis, like many cities across the country, has faced numerous demonstrations in the weeks since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, and some demonstrators have pushed for the reallocation of police funding, including a few who want the department to be completely abolished.

The McCloskeys’ attorney, Albert Watkins, said they are longtime civil rights advocates and support the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. He said they grabbed their guns when two or three protesters — who were white — violently threatened the couple, their property and that of their neighbors.

A letter released July 1 by more than three dozen of the McCloskeys’ neighbors condemned “the behavior of anyone who uses threats of violence, especially through the brandishing of firearms, to disrupt peaceful protest, whether it be in this neighborhood or anywhere in the United States.”

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  1. It is about time, past time, that we start framing gun control as a civil rights violation. It most certainly is a civil rights issue. In the BOR it is number 2. Anybody that supports gun control is supporting a violation of civil and even human rights.

    • Absolutely. Time the we start treating it as what it is. The fundamental and purposed violation of the highest laws of the land by Government(s).

    • I have noticed that when I say on TTAG that gays, jews, Libertarians, Liberals, the Left, the atheists don’t support the 1st amendment. They don’t support civil rights.
      They all get really upset.

      In fact to prove they support civil rights they say they support the KKK’s right to march in black neighborhoods. And to burn a cross on the private property of a black person.

      I have said you have a civil right to machine guns. But many in the “gun community” disagree. See the Bump Stock issue. And no the Bump Stock is not a “range toy”. Anyone who calls it that simply doesn’t understand what the second amendment is all about. And I’m referring to one of the founders of TTAG who said just that.

      Now if the rest of the senators would just stand up for the civil rights of people to protest for the full opening up their states. Or the civil rights of people to attend religious services.

    • I have been using the Civil Rights argument for decades now, in reference to the right to keep and bear arms. Many on the left disagree that it is a Civil Right, and they are partially correct. It is a Human Right with Civil protections from the government.

      I still like to use the Civil Right argument, since it is using their language against them.

  2. Gardner should be prosecuted for dereliction of duties for not pursuing charges against violent protestors and political prosecutions. Jail should be her residence

    • Wanna bet if they “peacefully marched” on her property like they were out “purging” she would have felt differently? In a heartbeat.

    • Gardner’s BS is an example of reverse racism and reverse racism makes her a racist. Had the McCloskeys been Black Americans and a white mob angry over a Black murdering a White was threatening them and their property rest assured the racist Gardner would not be using her position to harass a Black couple doing exactly what the McCloskeys did.
      So yes Gardner is violating the civil rights of the McCloskeys. IMO…It all adds up to Gardner being a racist in law enforcement and she needs to go.

  3. look at the article’s byline – JimSalter, ASSociated Press. The Leftist enemedia. I found several glaring examples where Fake News Jim Salter deliberately mis-reported and slanted the article unfairly to make the McCloskey’s, GovParson and Sen Hawley look bad.


  4. Gardner is one of the scum left wing prosecutors George Soros helped get elected. They’re all over the Country and their intent is to collapse the justice system.

  5. I just love it when people arm themselves but never take 30 minutes to learn what you can do legally do with a gun. That whole situation could have been handled a bit better and much of this could have been avoided.

    • Do you honestly believe that regardless of how they handled their weapons they would have been treated any differently? They could have been slung the entire time while they sit on lawn chairs on their front porch and simply telling that crowd of “purgers” they were trespassing, it would have gone worse for them. They would still have been met with this legal bullshit because the ones pushing it are leftist tyrants who want them and everyone else disarmed. Nothing would have changed this. What they did is as Pro 2A as it gets.

      • If they hadn’t waved them around pointing at people (muzzle discipline please), the consequences may have been different.

    • Considering they are both lawyers I think they know what to do with a gun and they did it. Nobody was shot and no ones house was was burned.

      The communist DA needs to learn what can legally be done with a gun.

  6. Wow! A conservative standing up for his constituents? Mark the day and make it a national holiday, if Hawley hasn’t figured out some way to fatten his bank account by doing this.

  7. Good going! One wonders if the pink shirt couple are STILL going to “support” Black Lies Blather…

  8. “an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment.”? How about an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to 5th amendment guarantees of due process?

  9. A letter released July 1 by more than three dozen of the McCloskeys’ neighbors condemned “the behavior of anyone who uses threats of violence, especially through the brandishing of firearms, to disrupt peaceful protest, whether it be in this neighborhood or anywhere in the United States.”

    Wow. Nice neighbors you got there.

    – or –

    “Please don’t burn my house next.”

    • That was the paragraph that shocked me too. Who are these neighbors condoning the invasion of their HOA? I’d have my home listed for sale tomorrow.

  10. Gardner is up for re-election. She has her own issues stemming from felony activities by one of her experts hired in the Governor Greitens issue. She is attempting to deflect from her own political liability issues and is pandering to her Useful Idiot, Defective Citizen base.
    Many in St. Louis would like to see her own home become the object of “peaceful” protests.

    • Gather up and do it. Stand on her front lawn, open carry. Hell, have a barbeque and invite her out to it. Make them see the difference. Wanna bet after day 3 she gets the cops involved? lol. Wanna bet they just show up for the BBQ?

  11. So a U.S senator is trying to intervene in a criminal prosecution because politics?

    As much as you may not like the law that puts the lawyer couple in jeopardy, they don’t get to break the rule of law and not face potential jail time and the loss of their rights. The warrant is valid from what I can tell. They used guns in a criminal manner and those pieces of evidence where taken under a warrant signed by a judge who agreed it was okay. The police had no hesitation in executing the warrant.

    Every gun owner should know if you commit an act that appears to be unlawful your guns will be seized as evidence. Depending on the crime and the state, there could be a restraining order issued preventing you from having access to any other guns. That’s how the law works, every law abiding gun owner knows that.

    The rules of gun safety say don’t point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy/kill. If you point a gun that means you want to kill that person. When you do point a gun make sure you have the legal right to pull the trigger right after. Only cops get a privilege to point guns at people that don’t warrant such coercion.

    The senators and president should spend their time complaining about state gun control and the ATF. Those rules and people are an active and ongoing threat to the civilly protected human right than a criminal investigation into brandishing of a firearm or assault with a deadly weapon.

    • How long should they have waited to exert their unalienable right to self defense? After they had been murdered & dismembered? Maybe after they had filed for a writ of mandamus to get the police to DO THEIR JOB? Just askin’.

  12. Trying to politicize this on a federal level is not going to make things better for them. It’s going to make things worse. It’s the local politics that get you. And setting up a pissing match with a prosecutor who has full immunity is not going to end well.

    Eventually they’re going to end up shot or in prison anyway. They’ve been pulling stunts over that little bit of disputed lawn (that they’re basically trying to claim squatters’ rights over) for years. Sooner or later when you play stupid games, you win a stupid prize. And doing this nonsense in St. Louis is a stupid game. Just like I would say that a cop using force in Atlanta to arrest someone for DUI or something else is a stupid game.

  13. News fash!!
    White people have civil rights too. But you won’t see that written in to many places. In fact white christians have civil rights too. But you won’t see that written in to many places either.

  14. Why does anyone have immunity, qualified or not??? You can sue the president of the United States. While he is in office. That started way back with president Kennedy. He was dragged into court while in office. Judges, Prosecutors, defense lawyers, police all lie. Most do tell the truth. But many don’t. They hide evidence. They falsely evidence. They threaten witnesses to not tell the truth. Or they tell a witness to just stay home. and not testify.

    It has NEVER BEEN just a corrupt police problem. The Libertarians Liberals and the Left are only making things worse, by calling for the repeal of qualified immunity, for just the police. And not for everyone else in the judicial system.

  15. The couple might have violated the law, pointing that pistol at the mob was not a good idea. We will never know if the couple was threatened by the din do nuffin mob as they have claimed. Their neighbors sold them down the river pretty quickly. A fiasco if anything.

    If they are charged by the prosecutor that released all of the looters and rioters arrested it will look like a political hit job. Gander is just upset because someone called her on her witch hunt.

    • If a person makes terroristic threats against you with people backing him up and carrying clubs, bottles or other implements brandishing is necessary to prevent it from happening. Note they were not attacked.

    • Their neighbors apparently hate them. And a lot of it seems to have to do with that stupid little triangle of grass that they were ready to shoot people over.

      If you’re going to go that nuts over a bit of your land you should probably buy an island or at least someplace out in the boonies.


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