St. Louis police have issued summonses to nine protesters for trespassing onto a private street in June during a now-viral incident during which a married couple brandished firearms while standing outside their home.
Police spokesperson Evita Caldwell told The Associated Press on Friday that the protesters were issued the summonses, but the St. Louis City Counselor’s office was still deciding whether to add formal charges.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey drew national attention earlier this year after footage of them pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside of their home went viral.
The couple has since been charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. Mark McCloskey stood outside the home with an AR-15 rifle, while Patricia McCloskey held a handgun.
About 300 people gathered to protest in the area, with the group marching onto a private street. Protesters have said that a gate to the street was open, though the McCloskeys have maintained that the demonstrators broke through, the AP reported.
The Rev. Darryl Gray, who led the event, asserted that the citations are an attempt to intimidate peaceful demonstrators.
“We’re not going to be threatened, and that’s what’s happening across this country,” Gray told the AP, adding that he was not personally issued a summons.
“You’ve got local governments and states who are trying to charge protesters, financially charge them, wanting them to pay costs,” he added. “You’ve got others who want to make it a law against exercising our First Amendment right.”
One demonstrator, activist Ohun Ashe, said on Sept. 4 that she received a summons for trespassing on the street, tweeting “I had a gun waved in my face by them but trespassing is what matters?”
The couple spoke on video at the Republican National Convention last month, painting a dark picture of violent protests spreading across the country if Democrats are elected.
“These radicals are not content with marching in the streets,” Mark McCloskey said. “They want to walk the halls of Congress. They want to take over. They want power.”
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