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US Governor pardons gun-waving couple

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Missouri Governor Mike Parson has made good on his promise to pardon a couple who captured worldwide attention for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter demonstrators.

Mr Parson, a Republican, on Friday pardoned Mark McCloskey, who pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanour fourth-degree assault and was fined $US750 ($A1000), and Patricia McCloskey, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanour harassment and was fined $US2000.

The McCloskeys, both lawyers in their 60s, said they felt threatened by the protesters, who were passing their home in a luxury St Louis in June 2020 on their way to demonstrate in front of the mayor’s house nearby. It was one of hundreds of similar demonstrations across the US after George Floyd’s death.

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The couple also said the group was trespassing on a private street.

Mr McCloskey emerged from his home with an AR-15-style rifle, and Ms McCloskey waved a semiautomatic pistol, according to the indictment.

Photos and mobile phone video captured the confrontation, which drew widespread attention and made the couple heroes to some and villains to others. No shots were fired and no one was hurt.

Special prosecutor Richard Callahan said his investigation determined the protesters were peaceful.

He said they “were a racially mixed and peaceful group, including women and children, who simply made a wrong turn on their way to protest in front of the mayor’s house”.

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“There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realised they had ventured onto a private enclave,” Mr Callahan said.

Mr McCloskey, who announced in May that he was running for a US Senate seat in Missouri, was unapologetic after the plea hearing.

“I’d do it again,” he said outside court.

“Any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family.”

Because the charges were misdemeanours, the McCloskeys did not face the possibility of losing their law licences or their rights to own firearms.

-with AAP

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