Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) say on Friday that he was prepared to pardon a St. Louis couple if charges are filed against them for brandishing firearms at a group of protesters outside their home.
Speaking on a St. Louis morning radio show Friday, Parson was asked about an investigation circuit attorney Kim Gardner launched into Mark and Patricia McCloskey. The two were seen in widely shared footage from June pointing guns at a group of protesters who were walking down their street as part of a demonstration.
The McCloskey’s claimed in a police report that they felt threatened by the demonstrators and feared that they would assault them or destroy their property. They also told St. Louis police the protesters trespassed on a private street and that they were “in fear for their lives.” But Gardner said that she would look into the events, noting at the outset of her probe that “we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights.”
Gardner has been criticized on how she is handling the report by many, including Parson who strongly pushed back against the impetus for the investigation, saying that the McCloskey’s “did what they legally should do.” Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) was also critical as well as Missouri Rep. Ben Baker (R), who sent a letter asking for her to resign because of the way she had handled the investigation.
“A mob does not have the right to charge your property. They had every right to protect themselves,” Parson said.
Asked whether he would consider a pardon if charges were filed, Parson said, “I thing that’s exactly what would happen.”
“Right now, that’s what I feel,” he said. “You don’t know until you hear all the facts. But right now, if this is all about going after them for doing a lawful act, then yeah, if that scenario ever happened, I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail.”
“We will not allow law-abiding citizens to be targeted for exercising their constitutional rights,” Parson added in a tweet linking to his comments.