(Reuters) – President Donald Trump, again underscoring racial tensions in the United States, released a video Monday that shows a Missouri couple brandishing weapons at protesters calling for police reforms.
No comment, Trump retweeted an ABC News video showing a white couple responding to black and white protesters marching outside their St. Louis mansion. In the video and others on social media, some protesters can be seen pausing to film or photograph the couple, while others can be yelled at, “Keep moving!” and “Come on!”
Mark McCloskey, 63, who lives in the mansion with his wife, Patricia McCloskey, said they feared for their lives and that protesters damaged a wrought-iron gate at an entrance to the wealthy neighborhood. Both are personal injury attorneys.
“This is all private property,” he said in an interview with local KMOV4 news. “There are no public sidewalks or public streets. I was terrified that they would kill us in seconds, our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed. We were alone in front of an angry crowd. ”
Kimberly Gardner, the city’s attorney general, said she was alarmed by the videos and that her office was investigating.
“We must protect the right to protest peacefully, and any attempt to cool it down by intimidation or the threat of lethal force will not be tolerated,” it said in a statement.
Protesters were on their way to the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson to demand her resignation after reading the names and addresses of people calling for police reform at a Facebook Live event last week. Krewson apologized and downloaded the video.
On Sunday, Trump received a quick conviction for retweeting the video of a Florida supporter shouting “white power,” a phrase used by white supremacist groups, and then removed it. The White House said Trump had not heard the slogan.
Trump also criticized Princeton University’s announcement over the weekend that he would remove the name of former United States President Woodrow Wilson from his schools for his racist comments and policies.
“Unbelievable stupidity!” Trump tweeted.
Opinion polls show Republican Trump follows his likely Democratic rival in the Nov. 3 election, former Vice President Joe Biden and a growing number of Americans who sympathize with protesters and support police reforms.
Princeton’s decision is part of a radical reevaluation of historical icons and nicknames amid growing demands for racial justice after the murder of black Americans, including George Floyd, whose death below the knee of a white police officer sparked worldwide protests.
Critics have highlighted Trump’s hostile response to protests against racial injustice and actions like Princeton’s, even as Mississippi voted Sunday to remove the Confederate flag symbol from its state flag, Walmart stopped selling the Confederate flag and NASCAR banned the symbol of the Civil War era.
Reports by Susan Heavey in Washington and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Howard Goller