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9 charged after McCloskey confrontation won’t be prosecuted

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Nine people charged with misdemeanor trespassing after a racial injustice protest in which demonstrators walked through a private street in the upscale Central West End neighborhood in June will not be prosecuted, city officials have said.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who live in the neighborhood, confronted the demonstrators with guns and have been charged with unlawful use of a weapon, a felony.

The protesters were issued citations earlier this month.

Deputy City Counselor Michael Garvin said in a statement that prosecution of the trespassing charges “is not warranted” and charges would be refused.

Municipal court prosecutors reviewed video, conducted interviews and examined property records of the incident. Gardner said residents who are trustees of the neighborhood, Portland Place, did not want to pursue trespassing charges.

Marchers were using the street to get to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson. The McCloskeys, who were armed with an AR-15 rifle and semiautomatic handgun, have become national figures for conservative Republicans and gun rights advocates since the confrontation and gave an opening night speech during last month’s Republican National Convention.

Their attorney, Joel Schwartz, said Tuesday that the demonstrators were clearly trespassing and that the McCloskeys “were clearly within their rights to do what they did.”

President Donald Trump and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, both Republicans, criticized the charges against the McCloskeys. Parson has said he will pardon the couple if they are convicted.

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