Two eyewitness videos obtained by CNN were taken outside the home on Portland Place, a private street near Krewson’s home, around 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Daniel Shular, a local reporter, shot one of the videos and said he saw the entire approximately 10-minute incident unfold. About 500 protesters were crossing Portland Place, according to Shular, to avoid nearby road closures that blocked access to the mayor’s home.
“A door opened next to the Portland Place gate and protesters walked through it to get through the neighborhood and into Krewson’s house,” he told CNN.
It was then that Shular says that the man and woman, now identified as Mark and Patricia McCloskey, left the house with guns. At one point in her 31-second video, the woman points the gun at protesters.
Couple who brandished firearms speaks
Property records obtained by CNN confirm that the two own the property. St Louis Streets Dept confirmed to CNN Portland Place is a private street.
“The peaceful protesters were not the subject of contempt or scorn by the McCloskeys,” their attorney Albert S. Watkins said in a statement to CNN. On the contrary, they expected and supported the message of the protesters. The acts of violence, destruction of property and acts of threatening aggression by some people who mingled with the peaceful protesters, gave rise to imminent and serious fear and fear. ”
Watkins says his clients acted “legally on his property” and that “their actions were based solely on fear and apprehension, the genesis of which was unrelated to race. In fact, the agitators responsible for the concern were white.”
Firearms were brandished, targeting protesters
“This is all private property,” McCloskey said in his statement to KMOV. “There are no public sidewalks or public streets. They told us they would kill us, burn our house, and kill our dog. We were alone in front of an angry crowd.”
A second video, taken later of the incident by protester Avery Risch, shows how tense the situation got. At one point, Patricia McCloskey, 61, was standing on the grass, closer to the protesters, pointing the gun.
In the Shula and Risch videos, it appears that McCloskey and the protesters exchange words, but what is said is unclear.
“Organizers and clergy actively warned people before entering the street that there was a couple with guns and if they were not comfortable with it, do not enter the street,” Risch told CNN. “Organizers and clergy were also encouraging the crowd and encouraging everyone not to give them the time of day.”
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department tells CNN that they are investigating the incident. City Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner told CNN in a statement that she was alarmed by the events and her office is investigating them.
“We must protect the right to protest peacefully, and any attempt to cool it down by intimidation or threat of lethal force will not be tolerated,” he said in his statement. “Make no mistake: We will not tolerate the use of force against those who exercise their First Amendment rights, and we will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable.”
The police and the circuit lawyer are investigating
According to a police report, the officers responded to a “call for help” made by the couple, who said there was a great shock.
The police report said the couple “observed a large group of subjects violently break through an iron gate marked with ‘Prohibido el paso’ and ‘Calle Privada’ signs.”
However, Shular and Risch said they did not witness a door break.
“It looked like the door was unlocked,” Shular told CNN. “I didn’t see anyone trying to break it.”
In a video, broadcast live on Facebook, the first protesters entering the private street keep the door of the left door open. That video doesn’t show how the door was opened the first time.
However, a second Facebook Live video taken later shows the door to the right door bent and broken on the ground.
Twenty seconds after several protesters walked through the door, the video shows Mark McCloskey leaving his home with a long rifle, yelling at protesters to get out of the private street.
Once through the door, [the McCloskey’s] He informed the group that they were “on a private street and paving and told them to leave,” according to police. The couple told police that the group began shouting obscenities and threatened to harm them.
In both videos streamed live on Facebook, there is a heated, often profane, back and forth between the protesters and the McCloskeys.
“When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they armed themselves and contacted the police,” the report says.
Shular told CNN that he saw some armed people at the protest, but that “no one pointed their weapons at the people in the house.”
Why were the protesters demonstrating?
Protesters passing through Portland Place were on their way to Mayor Krewson’s home, scorned for her reading of the names and addresses of people calling for police reform. The names and addresses he read were submitted as part of the public comments to the St. Louis County Council.
“I would like to apologize for identifying the people who presented letters to me today at City Hall. This was during one of my Facebook updates when I answered routine questions,” Krewson said in a tweet. “I never intended to harm anyone or cause distress. The update is removed and again, I apologize.”
CNN has reached out to the mayor of St. Louis and protest organizers about the incident, but has yet to receive a response.
CNN’s Hira Humayun contributed to this report.