Judge expunges convictions of couple who waved guns at protesters in St. Louis

A judge recently expunged the misdemeanor convictions against a St. Louis couple who waved guns at protesters outside their home in 2020.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey filed a request in January to remove the convictions from their record. Missouri Judge Joseph P. Whyte wrote in an order earlier this week that expungement is meant to give people a second chance if they have rehabilitated themselves.

Following the ruling, Mark McCloskey demanded that the city return the two guns seized as part of his 2021 guilty plea. The two guns were featured in the viral photo of him and his wife outside their home during the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020.

He said he will file a lawsuit against the city if it does not return his Colt AR-15 rifle and a Bryco .380-caliber pistol.

The couple argued that they felt threatened by the protesters who were passing by their home during the nationwide demonstrations that broke out after the murder of George Floyd. Floyd died in May 2020 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.

The photos of the couple, both brandishing weapons, became a symbol of America’s culture war at the moment and drew both widespread condemnation and praise from former President Trump and Republican lawmakers.

After their standoff, the couple pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges. They were pardoned in July 2021 by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R). Despite the pardon, a judge ruled in December 2022 that the firearms would not be returned to the couple.

The couple, whose law licenses had been suspended, had also appealed to the Supreme Court, which turned away the case.

Mark McCloskey also briefly ran for Senate in May 2021, vying for the seat left open by the retirement of former Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), but he only garnered 3 percent of the primary vote.

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