American Couple Have Been Charged For Pointing Weapons At BLM Protesters
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An American couple have been charged after they were accused of pointing weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis, Missouri last month.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey went viral on social media when they were seen pointing an assault rifle and a handgun at people rallying outside their mansion.
The protesters were marching towards the office of Mayor Lyda Krewson, however the McCloskeys said they were 'threatened'.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner said in a statement to Associated Press: "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.
"We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation will not be tolerating," she said.
The couple is now facing felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon as well as a misdemeanour charge of fourth-degree assault. They face up to four years in prison or fines of up to $5,000 if convicted.
However, according to The Independent, Missouri Governor Mike Parson said he was considering pardoning Mark and Patricia.
Circuit Attorney Gardener has instead suggested a diversion program would be a suitable penalty.
"I believe this would serve as a fair resolution to this matter," she said. "The people of St Louis have elected me to pursue equal justice under the law fairly and impartially, and that is what I intend to do."
When photos and videos of the incident started circulating on 28 June, many people pointed out that Patricia's finger was on the trigger of the handgun.
The couple insisted they were worried the protesters would attack their home.
Speaking to KSDK, Mark McCloskey said: "We were threatened with our lives, threatened with a house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog's life being threatened.
"I really thought it was storming the Bastille, that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it."