New information has surfaced revealing a schism between St. Louis police and Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner regarding her attempt to prosecute Mark and Patricia McCloskey after they pointed firearms at armed property invaders on June 28.
According to Christine Byers, of KSDK, TV 5:
The lead St. Louis police detective investigating the McCloskey case refused to sign at least two versions of court documents prosecutors drafted, according to a review of those documents…
Yet Gardner’s office – specifically, Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley -- applied pressure.
The documents obtained by 5 On Your Side include an email Gardner’s Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley sent to the lead investigator on the case, Sgt. Curtis Burgdorf. Hinckley emailed police the day before the McCloskeys were served with a search warrant, stating it needed to happen ‘now.’
And it gets worse. As many liberty-minded people around the world heard rumored, KSDK confirms that Hinckley ordered the reassembly of Patricia’s handgun because, in its form when she held it in defense of her and her husband’s home, it was inoperable, thus taking it out of the category of a deadly weapon.
Hinckley ordered the crime lab to disassemble and reassemble Patricia McCloskey’s gun and signed a court document stating that it was “capable of lethal use” at the time she pointed it at protesters. In a motion, Gardner wrote that the law allows prosecutors to say both of the McCloskeys guns were readily capable of lethal use, ‘even without proof that they were functional or loaded at the time of the incident.’
Which is bogus on a number of fronts. First, as Byers notes and as the McCloskey’s lawyer, Joel Schwartz, observes, the pistol had been made inoperable so that it could be used by the McCloskeys – both attorneys – could use it as a prop in a trial. Said Schwartz:
It’s a loose interpretation of the statute and the law requires a weapon to be operable at the time of an offense.
And, beyond that, Missouri has a Castle Doctrine statute and is a “stand your ground” state, which gives the benefit of the doubt to those accused of brandishing or using firearms or other deadly weapons to defend their homes or themselves against perceived threats.
Not only has Circuit Attorney Gardner turned this into a perceivably unwarranted prosecution, she has focused a target on the McCloskeys by seizing those firearms.
And this is not an abstract matter. Observes Byers:
In addition, police contend at least one person in the crowd was armed and another was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, after analyzing videos taken June 28, when the couple confronted protesters with guns.
Evidence shows that the trespassers broke through and ruined the McCloskey’s iron gate. They presented and had already shown that they were a threat to property, and, potentially, life.
The right to self-defense on one’s property is clear. Yet Gardner has tried to make an example of the two people who were sitting in their home when the invaders arrived.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) has vowed to pardon the couple. But that won’t help pay the McCloskey’s legal bills or make up for all the time they have lost having to focus on their legal future.
And all because people who were supposedly “protesters” became trespassers, evident property damagers, and perceived threats. And all because tax-paid Kim Gardner is acting like another predator.
And her assistant, Hinckley has been in her corner. Byers notes:
Hinckley wrote that the protesters passed through an ‘open gate’ onto private property. Burgdorf said he didn’t know whether the gate guarding the private street was open when protesters went through it, but that, at some point, it was damaged. Hinckley responded: ‘Your points here are really problematic. It seems to go beyond oversight and into purposeful ignorance. I suggest you very quickly re-assess this evidence.’ Ultimately the document Burgdorf signed reads, ‘protesters walked through a gate.’
Hinckley wrote that Mark McCloskey’s gun was ‘visibly loaded with an ammunition clip.’ Burgdorf wrote that he would have to verify that detail because it wasn’t mentioned in his report or interviews with them. Hinckley wrote back ‘Seriously??!!’ Ultimately, the document did not include the phrase Hinckley wrote.
And there is much, much more, well-covered by Byers.
Much more to a story that, with each move Gardner makes, reflects poorly on her, on her assistant, and on what appears to be their ideologically-oriented crusade against the right to self-defense.