U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Almost a year ago, on 28 June 2020, a mob of loud, screaming BLM protestors in St. Louis, Missouri, followed the agitators/leaders into private property through a locked gate.
Reacting to the threats, Mark and Patricia McCloskey grabbed two firearms, an AR-15 type rifle, and an inoperable Bryco semi-automatic pistol. The McCloskeys seemed fully justified under Missouri law. The state Attorney General defended them in public. The Governor said he would pardon them if they were prosecuted.
This did not deter radical St. Louis Circuit Attorney (prosecutor) Kim Gardner. She insisted on prosecuting the McCloskeys. Eventually, she was removed from the case for conflict of interest. Gardner appealed the decision, lost the appeal, then appealed the Missouri Supreme Court, which decided not to hear the case.
Richard C. Callahan was appointed as the special prosecutor to take the place of Kim Gardner. An unbiased special prosecutor would have dropped all charges. Callahan was not unbiased.
Special Prosecutor Callahan had spent 30 years as a St. Louis prosecutor. He had been appointed by President Barack Obama as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, in 2010. Callahan is reported to be a longtime ally of former Senator Claire McCaskill (D) Missouri. Callahan is a lifelong Democrat.
Some of the statements made by Prosecutor Callahan, after the plea deal was agreed to, were telling. From ksdk.com:
Getting a conviction on the felony charge would make it subject to all of the gun laws that favor self defense in Missouri.
“The state would have to prove those defenses and I don’t think I could have won at trial. The advantage to the harassment charge was, by a quirk in the way law is written, none of those defenses are available, so I knew that’s where I was going and that’s where I would probably win if it went to trial.
Later, Callahan, in the same article:
Callahan also balked at the couple’s request to have the guns rendered ineffective and given to a charity for auction as historic artifacts. The judge denied the request.
“I thought the most important aspect was to forfeit and destroy the guns,” Callahan said. “Some groups wanted to buy the gun and use it as a trophy display.”
A prosecutor who says a purely symbolic act, that of destroying guns used in a self-defense case, is the most important aspect, is not unbiased. He wanted the guns destroyed more than he was willing to accept funding for the state, even if the guns were de-activated.
Callahan showed he believes state control of guns is more important than justice or truth. He showed making a political statement is more important to him than concerning himself with justice, guilt, or innocence.
Callahan made this statement about the angry mob the McCloskeys faced. From mdjonline.com: Richard G. Callahan Special Prosecutor Statement June 17, 2021
The protesters, Callahan said, “were a racially mixed and peaceful group, including women and children, who simply made a wrong turn on their way to protest in front of the mayor’s house. There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realized they had ventured into a private enclave.”
Who a prosecutor chooses to interview makes a large difference. Callahan had plenty of reasons to choose to interview only people who validated the narrative he wanted to be promoted.
St. Louis PD Sgt. Curt Burgdorf, when he investigated the incident, found a different story. From foxnews.com,
“Once through the gate, the victims advised the group that they were on a private street and trespassing and told them to leave,” the police summary further states. “The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims. When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police.”
The police investigation showed evidence some of the mob were armed. From a report by Sgt. Burgdorf:
[…][Burgdorf] noted in follow up reports that at least one of the protesters was armed with a handgun, and another was wearing a bullet-resistant vest with the words, “Human Shield” on it.
In another livestream video, Burgdorf wrote a man was heard saying, “I was in front so I was the one who opened the gate. The gate was broken after they pulled a gun. What law did we break? We keep guns there but not for show though. Not to look a certain way, but for use. If they would’ve shot then they would’ve been put down.”
A source inside the St. Louis Police Department confirmed there was evidence in the report some of the group were armed. Callahan had to ignore the police report to make the statement:
There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon
With the deck stacked against him by a political prosecutor, Mark McCloskey chose the best of the choices available. He beat the rap by taking the plea deal. Then he explained it on Twitter:
@mccloskA year ago, the mob came to my door to attack my family— I backed them down The mob came for me, the media attacked me & prosecutors tried to punish me for defending my family They dropped all charges, except for a claim I instilled “imminent fear” in the mob I’d do it again.
The McCloskeys can replace the firearms easily. Anyone who watches the videos can see the McCloskeys had reason to be afraid of the mob. Most of the people in the group probably were peaceful. Most of the people probably did not know they were on private property, at first.
Analysis: The video shows the agitators leading the group through the gate. Mobs are easily lead. The people who organized the “protest” intended to trespass on the private property from the beginning. They illegally jimmied the gate and lead the mass of protestors through it. They were hoping to instigate a violent incident. They knew Kim Gardner had their back, and would prosecute anyone opposing them.
The McCloskeys took the best deal they could get. They beat the rap, even though political opposition will claim the plea shows then to be the ones at fault.
If the evidence of the political bias of the prosecutor is made known, this need not hurt Mark McCloskey’s Senate campaign.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.