The handgun Patricia McCloskey waved at Black Lives Matters protesters last month was incapable of firing before the St. Louis chief prosecutor's office had it rebuilt, according to a bombshell news report.
McCloskey's firearm needed to be "readily capable of lethal use" for her to be successfully prosecuted in Missouri for unlawful use of a weapon under Missouri law.
- She was charged with one count of that crime on Monday along wither husband Mark McCloskey.
- St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, a Democrat, brought the charges following an investigation of viral footage of the couple brandishing firearms at protesters trespassing in their gated community in the city on June 28.
Charging documents revealed that Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley told the police crime lab to disassemble and reassemble Patricia McCloskey's gun, which resulted in it becoming operable, the local NBC affiliate KSDK reported on Tuesday.
- After field stripping the weapon, lab workers discovered the firing pin spring was in front of the firing pin, which was facing the wrong direction, and the gun could not fire.
- They reconstructed the firearm correctly, as instructed, and then confirmed it was working by conducting a firing test.
A prop gun: The McCloskeys' attorney, Joel Schwartz, confirmed to KDSK the gun was incapable of firing at the time of the alleged crime.
- “It’s disheartening to learn that a law enforcement agency altered evidence in order to prosecute an innocent member of the community,” he said.
- The McCloskeys have said they intentionally made the handgun inoperable so they could bring it into a courtroom as part of a past lawsuit.
An American couple: The McCloskeys, both trial attorneys, became a cause celebre on the right after video went viral of the armed pair facing down the crowd of anti-racism protesters that had marched into their neighborhood.
- Many conservatives have held up the couple as champions of law and order and living arguments for the Second Amendment.
- In memes and social media posts, the McCloskeys drew praise for their home maintenance in addition to their perceived bravery.
- Their cause has been taken up by President Donald Trump — who said last Tuesday that prosecution of the couple was a “disgrace" — as well as by Missouri's governor, Mike Parson, and the state's attorney general, Eric Schmitt, both Republicans.
Gardner's office told KSDK it could not comment on a pending case.