(AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, told a radio host that based on the information he had received, it’s likely he would pardon a white St. Louis couple if they are charged for brandishing guns during a racial injustice protest outside their mansion.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Democrat, is investigating Mark and Patricia McCloskey, both in their 60s, for an incident on June 28. Protesters who were marching to the nearby home of Mayor Lyda Krewson walked onto the private street where the McCloskeys live.
The couple accused demonstrators of knocking down an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs, though a protest leader has said the gate was already open and no protesters damaged it. The McCloskeys came outside with weapons — he with a long-barreled gun and she with a small handgun.
Their actions, captured on video and viewed by millions, drew praise from some who said they were legally defending their home, but scorn from others who said they risked bloodshed by displaying the weapons. Photos emerged as memes on both sides of the gun debate.
Gardner has not disclosed whether she intends to file charges, but several leading Republicans — including President Donald Trump, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Parson — have criticized her for even deciding to investigate the couple. Parson cited Missouri’s “castle doctrine” law that justifies lethal force for those protecting their homes. Hawley is seeking a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of Gardner.
In an interview Friday on the Marc Cox Morning Show on 97.1 FM in St. Louis, Parson was asked if he would consider a pardon.
“I think that’s exactly what would happen,” Parson said. He later added that based on what he knew about the case, “I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail.”
Parson retweeted on Saturday a link to the interview on his personal Twitter page. An email message left with his spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
A spokeswoman for Gardner declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.