Pratzel’s motion argued that the McCloskeys’ crimes had shown “indifference to public safety” and involved “moral turpitude” warranting discipline, as he recommended the state Supreme Court indefinitely suspend their licenses, according to the Associated Press. Pratzel also stated in the court filing that while a pardon erases a conviction, “the person’s guilt remains.”
Images and videos of Mark McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, standing in front of their mansion, barefoot and brandishing a rifle and handgun, on June 28, 2020, while protesters marched through their gated community went viral in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis — coming to symbolize a divided nation.
The protesters were heading to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) at the time, to call for her resignation amid nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. No shots were fired, and no one was hurt.
The publicity seems to have done the couple little harm, instead transforming them into popular figures on the right. The pair, both in their 60s, appeared at the Republican National Convention last August and have received praise from several Republican leaders — including President Donald Trump — who spoke out in defense of their actions.
Mark McCloskey also announced in May that he would run for one of Missouri’s U.S. Senate seats, using the images from that tense faceoff with protesters in his campaign ads.
The couple did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the potential suspension of their law licenses. The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel also did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.
In June, Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and was fined $750, and Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was fined $2,000. Both agreed to give up the guns they had wielded in the now-infamous incident.
However, as the charges were misdemeanors, the McCloskeys did not automatically lose their law licenses or their right to own firearms.
After their plea hearing in June, Mark McCloskey was unapologetic.
“I’d do it again,” he said from the courthouse steps in downtown St. Louis. “Any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family.”
He had emerged with an AR-15-style rifle as Patricia waved a semiautomatic pistol, according to the indictment, with the couple stating that the protesters had broken through an iron gate onto their private street and appeared threatening. Protest organizers have said their march was peaceful.
After their pardon, the McCloskeys said in a statement to The Post that they had “faced political prosecution for having the audacity to defend our lives and property from an angry mob.”