A white couple who pointed guns at protesters in St. Louis as a group marched toward the mayor’s home Sunday to demand her resignation say they were in fear for their lives as the mob approached.
A social media video showed the armed couple standing outside their large home Sunday evening in the upscale Central West End neighborhood of the Missouri city. The group of protesters had gathered at the home after the mayor read the names and addresses of several residents who supported defunding the police department during an online briefing.
In the video, Mark and Patricia McCloskey shouted at protesters, while about 300 people in the march moved the crowd forward, urging participants to ignore them. People in the crowd included Black and white protesters.
The McCloskeys were say they were frightened by the protesters, so they pulled their guns out as a means to protect themselves, according to a FoxCarolinas report.
“It was like the storming of the Bastille, the gate came down and a large crowd of angry, aggressive people poured through,” Mark McCloskey said. “I was terrified that we’d be murdered within seconds. Our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed.”
Mark McCloskey said he called 911 as him and his wife grabbed their guns to ward off the crowd in the private, gated community.
"A mob of at least 100 smashed through the historic wrought iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed towards my home where my family was having dinner outside and put us in fear for our lives," Mark McCloskey said, and shared photos of the destroyed gate.
President Donald Trump reportedly retweeted the footage a day after retweeting video of a supporter chanting “white power.”
In a separate statement from their attorney, the McCloskeys said they support the Black Lives Matter movement and that “peaceful protesters were not the subject of scorn or disdain by the McCloskeys. To the contrary, they were expecting and supportive of the message of the protesters,” the statement reads.
Rasheen Aldridge, one of the protests organizers with a group called Expect Us, told the news station that protesters were peaceful and no threats were ever made. When questioned about why the demonstrators decided to encroach upon private property, Aldridge said that was par for the course.
“Just like in many disobedient protests, even in the 60s, you break laws, make people feel uncomfortable. We’re not doing anything where we’re hurting anyone or putting anyone in danger.”
Why they gathered at the home
The group of at least 500 people was heading toward Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home, chanting, “Resign Lyda, take the cops with you,” news outlets reported.
Resignation demands come after a Facebook Live briefing on Friday in which Krewson read the names and addresses of several residents who wrote letters to the mayor suggesting she defund the police department.
The video was removed from Facebook and Krewson apologized Friday, stating she didn’t “intend to cause distress.”
The names and letters are considered public records, but Krewson’s actions received heavy backlash.
Protesters nationwide have been pushing to “defund the police” following the death of George Floyd and other Black people killed by law enforcement. Floyd, who was in handcuffs, died May 25 while in custody of Minneapolis police.
Krewson, a white longtime alderwoman, was elected as St. Louis’ first female mayor in April 2017 by pledging to work to reduce crime and improve impoverished neighborhoods. She and her two children were in the car in front of their home in 1995 when her husband, Jeff, was slain during a random carjacking attempt.
Homicides have spiked in recent years in St. Louis, which annually ranks among the most violent cities in the nation based on FBI statistics.
An online petition calling for Krewson’s resignation had more than 43,000 signatures as of early Monday.
“As a leader, you don’t do stuff like that ... it’s only right that we visit her at her home,” said Aldridge, who is also a state representative, said into megaphone at the protest Sunday.
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