02:10 GMT30 November 2020
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    The St. Louis, Missouri, couple who went viral late last month for pointing and brandishing firearms at protesters have been charged with unlawful use of a weapon/flourishing - a felony.

    St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced Monday that West End residents Mark and Patricia McCloskey had been charged with a class E felony of unlawful use of a weapon.

    "It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in a nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis," she wrote in a statement observed by local outlet KSDK. "The decision to issue charges was made after a thorough investigation with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department."

    The class E felony charges come a week after authorities executed a search warrant and seized a semi-automatic .223-caliber rifle from the couple’s home. The other weapon had previously been surrendered.

    Viral footage from the encounter in question shows the woman pointing her pistol at a number of people. At one point she waves the weapon behind her husband’s head.

    Despite the charges, Republican Missouri Governor Mike Parson argued earlier this month that the McCloskeys “had every right to protect their property.”

    "They have the ability to do that as private citizens like everyone else,” he added, as reported by Newsweek.

    Speaking to St. Louis’ 97.1 FM, Parson said that a pardon is “exactly what would happen” if the McCloskeys were slapped with charges in relation to the June 28 encounter. “I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail,” the governor added, according to Fox News.

    Mark McCloskey told CBS affiliate KMOV that he and his wife feared for their lives as protesters passed by on their way to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's house.

    “It was like the storming of the Bastille, the gate came down and a large crowd of angry, aggressive people poured through. I was terrified that we’d be murdered within seconds. Our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed,” he claimed, later referring to the group as a “mob.”

    If convicted, both Mark and Patricia McCloskey face one to four years behind bars and up to $10,000 each in fines.

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    Tags:
    Black Lives Matter, Missouri, St. Louis, weapons, firearms, firearms
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