Speed Reads

pardon me?

Missouri governor pardons St. Louis couple who waved guns at protesters

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) announced on Tuesday that last week, he pardoned Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who waved their guns at peaceful racial justice protesters walking by their home in June 2020.

The McCloskeys, both personal injury attorneys, live in a gated community, and the demonstrators passed their house on the way to the home of then-Mayor Lyda Krewson. Videos and images showing Mark and Patricia McCloskey brandishing their weapons went viral, with former President Donald Trump defending them and the couple invited to speak at the Republican National Convention. In May, Mark McCloskey said he would seek the Republican nomination for one of Missouri's Senate seats.

Earlier this summer, the McCloskeys pleaded guilty to misdemeanor firearm charges, and were fined and told to turn over the guns involved in the incident. Parson said during a radio interview last year and again during a later press conference that he would pardon the couple. 

In addition to the McCloskeys, Parson pardoned 10 other people on Friday. He did not pardon Kevin Strickland, a Kansas City man who has spent 43 years in prison for a shooting that prosecutors and two people who pleaded guilty to the crime say he didn't commit. Despite prosecutors and lawyers declaring Strickland, a Black man convicted by an all-white jury, innocent, Parson has said he's not convinced.

Missouri House Democratic Minority Leader Crystal Quade said in a statement that it is "beyond disgusting that Mark and Patricia McCloskey admitted they broke the law and within weeks are rewarded with pardons, yet men like Kevin Strickland, who has spent more than 40 years in prison for crimes even prosecutors now say he didn't commit, remain behind bars with no hope of clemency."