St Louis couple charged for pointing guns at protesters

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Napp
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Interesting development, especially given the legal right to defend your property from a dangerous mob...


A husband and wife have been charged with unlawful use of a weapon for pointing guns at demonstrators outside their home in St Louis, Missouri.
Lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey drew guns on racial justice protesters marching through the grounds of their $1.15m mansion last month.
The couple said they armed themselves because they felt threatened.
But St Louis' top prosecutor said their actions had risked creating violence at an otherwise peaceful protest.
"It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St Louis," said Kim Gardner, who is the city's the first black circuit attorney.
"We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation will not be tolerated," she added.
The McCloskeys also face a charge of fourth-degree assault.
The couple's lawyer, Joel Schwartz, called the decision to press charges "disheartening as I unequivocally believe no crime was committed".

The couple, both personal injury attorneys who live on a private street, have said they were within their rights to defend their property.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson has said he was prepared to exercise his pardon powers if prosecutors brought criminal charges in the case.
"I don't think they're going to spend any time in jail," the Republican told a local radio station last week.
When he was a legislator, the governor co-wrote Missouri's "castle doctrine" law that justifies deadly force for those who are defending their homes from intruders.
Video footage showed Mr McCloskey, 63, and his wife, 61, draw firearms as demonstrators marched past their mansion to the home of St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson to call for her resignation on 28 June.
The mayor had infuriated activists by reading out on Facebook Live the names and addresses of people advocating for defunding police.
The McCloskeys' legal team has said two or three white protesters had threatened the couple and their property.
According to a police report on the incident, the couple said a large group of people had broken through an iron gate marked with "No Trespassing" and "Private Street" signs. One of the protest leaders maintained the gate was already open.
The march was part of a nationwide wave of demonstrations over police brutality and racism prompted by the alleged killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by a white policeman.
Ms Gardner is recommending that the husband and wife participate in a "diversion programme" designed to reduce unnecessary involvement with the courts.
It could see them ordered to take part in community service or a remedial course.
Class E felonies like unlawful use of a weapon can carry prison sentences of up to four years.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53481537
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Occitanie
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(Original post by Napp)
Interesting development, especially given the legal right to defend your property from a dangerous mob...


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53481537
Citizens in Missouri have Castle Law, which is effectively the right to defend private property.

I believe this couple did have reasonable presumption that their property was under threat.

I think that the maximum they could get would be 4 years, and I simply don’t think this will stand in court.

I’m not a lawyer, so take this with a pinch of salt.

Here’s some further info at https://statelaws.findlaw.com/missou...ense-laws.html

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Missouri recognizes the "castle doctrine" and allows residents to use force against intruders, without the duty to retreat, based on the notion that your home is your "castle." This legal doctrine assumes that if an invader disrupts the sanctity of your home, they intend to do you harm and therefore you should be able to repel their advances.

Missouri's law is more extensive than the law in other states because it permits property owners to use the amount of force reasonably perceived as necessary, including deadly force.

However, case law suggests it does not go so far as permitting the use of deadly force to merely protect property. In 2016, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District held in State v. Whipple that deadly force under the castle doctrine can only be used when you reasonably believe such force is necessary to protect yourself or someone else from "the use or imminent use of unlawful force."

The 300 odd protestors had broken into the gated community. Video evidence supports this.

I firmly believe that the couple were well in their right to defend their property.

You could possibly argue that the wife pointing her gun may be an instigation, however since she didn’t fire it, it’s not a crime (according to state law).
Last edited by Occitanie; 3 weeks ago
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Must have been frightening to see a mob breaking down the gates and coming towards your house.😕
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SHallowvale
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Being lawyers themselves, and wealthy as hell, I am sure they'll find a way out of this.

As much as it was wrong for protesters to break onto their land, threatening them with guns (when the protesters themselves weren't being violent, save for a broken gate) was clearly disproportionate and unnecessary. Can't think of a better case of 'both sides are morons'.
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Occitanie
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
Being lawyers themselves, and wealthy as hell, I am sure they'll find a way out of this.

As much as it was wrong for protesters to break onto their land, threatening them with guns (when the protesters themselves weren't being violent, save for a broken gate) was clearly disproportionate and unnecessary. Can't think of a better case of 'both sides are morons'.
You should consider looking into Castle Law in Missouri. I provided a link in response to Napp.

It's not hard to understand that if you trespass onto someone's private property and the owner reasonably believe they or their property are under threat they are allowed to use their legal and registered weapons in a non-lethal manner.

Anyway, I'm quite certain the charges will be dropped.
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by Occitanie)
You should consider looking into Castle Law in Missouri. I provided a link in response to Napp.

It's not hard to understand that if you trespass onto someone's private property and the owner reasonably believe they or their property are under threat they are allowed to use their legal and registered weapons in a non-lethal manner.

Anyway, I'm quite certain the charges will be dropped.
Sure, my point was more so about how ridiculous and reckless it was for two people to pull out guns because someone was trampling on their lawn.
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DiddyDec
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I can't see this getting very far, just typical pandering to the loudest voice forgetting the loudest does not mean right.

What that couple needs is a course on firearms safety, I have no qualms with defending one's home but at least do it in the correct manner.
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ThatOldGuy
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The couple were charged for (Most likely) grandstanding reasons. If you have political aspirations, not charging them would be tantamount to giving free dirt for your opponent when you choose to run for office.

It -also- could have resulted in further violence if they weren't charged.

The most likely scenario, in my mind, is that this goes to local court where they lose and then are required to take it further up the chain and eventually get it overturned on constitutional grounds. This will polarize people, but no more than they already are. The people who will feel angry that the case is dismissed will be the same people who were angry before the couple pointed guns.
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anarchism101
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
As much as it was wrong for protesters to break onto their land
Why was it wrong? As far as I can they didn't actually go up to the house, just walked on the street outside it.
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(Original post by anarchism101)
Why was it wrong? As far as I can they didn't actually go up to the house, just walked on the street outside it.
Because it was all private property. That was a gated community and they had broken the gate and walked inside. Damage had already been done to private property, and there was no evidence that they didn't intend to do more damage.

Maybe if they walked around with a sign saying, "Sorry about the gate. We'll pay for it but we really want to protest the mayor." then it would have been more obvious.
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Gundabad(good)
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(Original post by Napp)
Interesting development, especially given the legal right to defend your property from a dangerous mob...


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53481537
You never point a gun at a crowd. That's how you escalate a situation.
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by anarchism101)
Why was it wrong? As far as I can they didn't actually go up to the house, just walked on the street outside it.
The street was still on private property (a gated community, apparently). I don't think that justifies pointing guns at anyone, though.
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anarchism101
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
The street was still on private property (a gated community, apparently).
(Original post by ThatOldGuy)
Because it was all private property. That was a gated community and they had broken the gate and walked inside.
So? Do you think it's right that parts of the city and the streets through them should be forcibly made off-limits to poor people? As that's ultimately both the goal and the result of privately owned streets and gated communities.
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generallee
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(Original post by anarchism101)
So? Do you think it's right that parts of the city and the streets through them should be forcibly made off-limits to poor people? As that's ultimately both the goal and the result of privately owned streets and gated communities.
Well you are an anarchist so you would think that. No doubt you agree with Rousseau:

“The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had some one pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: "Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!”

But as even Rousseau knew, it doesn't work like that. A lot of the city and the streets through them are "off limits" to the poor. You may not like that, but that is the way it is. And Black Lives Matter won't change this deplorable situation. They will make no difference to it at all.
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Napp
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(Original post by Gundabad(good))
You never point a gun at a crowd. That's how you escalate a situation.
I';m more inclined to side with the couple here. A violent crowd of rioters breaks onto your property, you should be allowed to defend it.
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(Original post by anarchism101)
So? Do you think it's right that parts of the city and the streets through them should be forcibly made off-limits to poor people? As that's ultimately both the goal and the result of privately owned streets and gated communities.
Yes, and I'll tell you why (Though, given your name is 'Anarchism101', I suspect we have two entirely separate ideologies and this may be useless. )

A private community is a community paid and maintained entirely without public funds. The roads, the sewage system, everything. Despite this, they pay in to taxes repeatedly. In the same sense that they could have built one enormous house on that property and nobody would be allowed on it, they are allowed to do anything they want with that property, subject to limitations that impact their neighbours. Because it's their land, and they're allowed to.

In fact, isn't one of the tenets of anarchy that government interventionalism is a net negative and that the state apparatus is a lie? By that token, the private syndicalism of the group that holds that land and does with it as it wants is fine. In fact, the attempt of the crowd to create a coercive society should be anathema to you.

Why does an anarchist want the state to intervene to stop a smaller group struggling to prevent a larger group forcing them to bend to their will?
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Gundabad(good)
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(Original post by Napp)
I';m more inclined to side with the couple here. A violent crowd of rioters breaks onto your property, you should be allowed to defend it.
You can defend your property how you like, but if you accidentally shot one of them, don't expect to be treated nicely by the crowd/police.
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So people can't defend themselves from left wing radical mobs? This sets a dangerous precedence.
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(Original post by Gundabad(good))
You can defend your property how you like, but if you accidentally shot one of them, don't expect to be treated nicely by the crowd/police.
It hardly matters what the crowd would have though to be honest. An AR15 rather speaking for itself on the matter, no?
On a slightly more serious note though your example does run into the legal problem of a mob lynching vs. legal defence of the property (however much people might disagree with the law).
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Gundabad(good)
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(Original post by Napp)
It hardly matters what the crowd would have though to be honest. An AR15 rather speaking for itself on the matter, no?
On a slightly more serious note though your example does run into the legal problem of a mob lynching vs. legal defence of the property (however much people might disagree with the law).
What happens if people in the crowd have guns? It's America after all.
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