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Missouri governor says St. Louis couple 'had every right' to wave guns at protesters

Missouri governor says St. Louis couple 'had every right' to wave guns at protesters
© UPI Photo

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) defended the St. Louis couple who was seen in viral footage last month pointing guns at protesters outside their home and said they “had every right to protect their property.”

Parson made the remarks in defense of the married couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, at a news briefing on Tuesday, the St. Louis Dispatch reported. His comments reportedly came shortly after he drew criticism from his predecessor, former Gov. Eric Greitens (R), over the treatment the couple has received in recent weeks. 

During an appearance on Fox News earlier this week, anchor Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonAtlas departure from White House cheered by public health officials Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Ex-Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell files lawsuits in Michigan, Georgia MORE pressed Greitens for his thoughts on Parson’s response to the McCloskey case, which has garnered national attention in recent weeks, asking him, “Why isn't he doing something?” 

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“Why didn't he send State Troopers to defend the McCloskeys or anybody else who was being threatened -- whose lives are being threatened?” he asked the former governor.

Greitens, who stepped down as governor in 2018 amid multiple allegations of criminal wrongdoing, responded by saying there was a “cowardice problem” going on and touted his office’s past use of police force.

While discussing the McCloskey case at his press briefing on Tuesday, Parsons stressed his strong support for the Second Amendment as well as his support for the Castle Doctrine, which, according to a Thomson Reuters legal database, “allows residents to use force against intruders, without the duty to retreat, based on the notion that your home is your ‘castle.’”

Parsons also discussed a recent conversation he had with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE, who had also defended the couple in an interview on Tuesday and called the way they’ve been treated a “disgrace.”

“He understands the situation in Missouri,” Parsons said at the briefing. “He understands the situation in St. Louis and how out of control it is to let violent criminals off and not do their job and try to attack law-abiding citizens.”

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Parsons went on to say that the president also vowed to “do everything he could within his powers to help with this situation, and that he would be taking action to do that” and said he thinks the “president doesn’t like what he’s seeing and the way these people are being treated.”

Parsons also criticized the St. Louis city prosecutor, Kim Gardner, accusing her of trying to take away the couple’s “constitutional rights” after she launched an investigation into the June incident involving the couple.

His comments come several days after local authorities executed a search warrant at the couple’s home. During the search, the husband’s rifle had also reportedly been seized.

The couple first drew national attention in late June after they were recorded pointing guns at protesters who had been marching past their residence on the way to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) as part of a demonstration. The protesters had been calling for the mayor’s resignation after she read aloud activists' personal information on a livestream.

However, as they were passing the McCloskeys’ house, the couple could be seen yelling at the protesters and pointing guns at them.

The couple has claimed that they pulled out their guns in defense, saying last month that they were “in fear for [their] lives.”  However, one the leaders of the protest, Rasheen Aldridge, disputed the couple’s claim at the time and said the demonstrators remained peaceful despite the McCloskeys drawing guns on them.

The incident last month came amid a wave of nationwide protests against police brutality and racism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African Americans.