Missouri Senator Josh Hawley told Steve Doocy of “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning that the charges against the St. Louis couple that brandished their weapons at protestors in June are a “textbook example” of an “abuse of power.”
The Republican said that Mark and Patricia McCloskey had “the right to do what they did” and were protected by the “U.S. Constitution, Missouri Constitution, and Missouri law.”
He called the charges a political hit job and a “terrible miscarriage of justice,” saying it violated the couple’s second amendment right to bear arms and defend their property.
“I think the United States Department of Justice needs to open a civil rights investigation into the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office.”
The McCloskeys, who are personal injury attorneys, went viral in June after video showed them brandishing weapons at a group of Black Lives Matter protestors who had ventured onto their property in a gated neighborhood.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed felony charges against the McCloskeys on Monday. They are facing a felony charge of irresponsibly and illegally flourishing their weapons in public, which carries a $10,000 fine and up to four years in prison. (RELATED: ‘I’m Glad You’re A Mind Reader’: St. Louis Homeowner Snaps At Chris Cuomo In Heated Exchange)
1/ Statement from Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner – Today my office filed charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey following an incident involving peaceful, unarmed protesters on June 28th. Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/zPucQ3MHs5
— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) July 20, 2020
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced on Monday that he would be seeking a dismissal of charges against the couple after Gardner filed her complaint.
Citizens shouldn’t be targeted for exercising their #2A right to self-defense
STL prosecutor Kim Gardner is engaged in a political prosecution
As AG I’m entering the case seeking a dismissal & defend all Missourians’ right to protect their lives/property pic.twitter.com/kQLXOAhFIz
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 20, 2020
Hawley wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on July 16 calling the investigation of the couple and seizure of their weapons an “abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment.” He cited Gardner’s pattern of not prosecuting other crimes and her “hostility to gun rights” as reasons this was likely a “politically-motivated” investigation to begin with.
Hawley finished: “The Second Amendment is not a second-class right. No family should face the threat of harassment or malicious prosecution for exercising that right. The Department of Justice must ensure that all Americans’ rights are protected from this kind of abuse of power.”
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