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McCloskeys claim prosecutor used their case as part of reelection campaign

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Getty

UPDATED: 2:43 p.m. ET, Feb. 26, 2021 —

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner is fighting back after she was recently barred from overseeing the prosecution of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a white couple who used fear and intimidation when they were captured pointing weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters in front of their home last summer.

This week Gardner’s office filed two petitions with the Missouri Supreme Court requesting to reverse orders that disqualified her from prosecuting the case, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The order initiated by a lawyer for the McCloskeys, claimed Gardner was biased after submitting fundraising emails where Gardner named the case during her run for office in the primaries last summer.

Gardner’s petition comes a day after a special prosecutor was appointed to oversee the case. Richard Callahan, a former judge appointed by the Obama administration, will serve as prosecutor.

Original Story:

A judge who is also a former U.S. attorney appointed by President Barack Obama has been named as the special prosecutor to investigate the white couple who menaced peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters by aiming guns at them in St. Louis last summer.

Richard Callahan, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, recently resigned as a judge in the state’s Cole County to accept the role as the special prosecutor who will ultimately determine whether Mark and Patricia McCloskey deserve criminal charges for their actions.

Callahan, 73, told the Post-Dispatch that he plans to approach the McCloskey case the same as other politically charged cases he’s handled in the past.

“I am going to approach it the same way I’ve done anything in the last 49 years — start with a blank slate, follow the evidence and see where it takes me,” said Callahan, who was appointed by Obama to be U.S. attorney in 2010.

The McCloskeys made news last summer after reports surfaced of them waving guns at protesters marching on their way to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house. A viral video from the June 28 incident showed Mark brandishing an AR-15 and Patricia with her finger on the trigger of her gun outside of their home.

Charged with unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering, the McCloskeys are also accused of altering the pistol held by Patricia prior to giving it to investigators. The McCloskeys’ antics earned them an appearance during the Republican National Convention in August. They spoke at a “gun rights” rally at the Missouri Capitol earlier this week.

Callahan’s appointment comes after St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberley Gardner, a Black woman, was disqualified from the case. Gardner subsequently appealed the decision but remains off the case because of the alleged appearance of impropriety when she mentioned the case in fundraising emails.

In her defense, Gardner said any mention of the case was to defend herself from Republican attacks ahead of elections last summer. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, former President Donald Trump and other high-ranking Republicans threw their weight behind efforts to unseat Gardner and used the McCloskey case as a cause to rally around.

Parson has previously said he would pardon the McCloskeys if found guilty.

Anoa Changa is a movement journalist and retired attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow Anoa on Instagram and Twitter @thewaywithanoa.


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