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Couple points guns at protesters marching to St. Louis mayor's home to demand resignation

Rachel Rice, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in News & Features

Police are continuing to investigate the incident on Portland Place but are labeling it as a case of trespassing and fourth-degree assault by intimidation.

Meanwhile, were the couple, as they stood on their own property, within their rights to point weapons at protesters? Gun rights advocates say yes. A police spokesperson said to ask "the courts."

Anders Walker, a constitutional law professor at St. Louis University, said that although it's "very dangerous" to engage protesters with guns, the homeowners broke no laws by brandishing or pointing weapons at them because Portland Place is a private street. He said they are legally protected by Missouri's Castle Doctrine, which allows people to use deadly force to defend private property.

"The protesters thought they had a right to protest," Walker said. "But as a technical matter, they were not allowed to be there ... It's essentially a private estate. If anyone was violating the law, it was the protesters. In fact if (the McCloskeys) have photos of the protesters, they could go after them for trespassing."

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner appeared to take a different view, releasing a statement Monday that said she's "alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend where peaceful protestors (sic) were met by guns and a violent assault."

Gardner said her office is investigating.

 

"We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated," Gardner said. "Make no mistake: we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights, and will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable."

The protest culminated at the mayor's home on Lake Avenue. It wasn't immediately clear if the mayor was home at the time. Her spokesman has not replied to a reporter asking if Krewson had been there.

At least 500 people demonstrated in the Central West End, chanting "Resign Lyda, take the cops with you." They are upset that the mayor released names and addresses of residents who suggested defunding the Police Department.

For weeks, demonstrators have marched against police violence and held rallies to close the St. Louis Medium Security Institution known as the workhouse.

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