By Emily Zanotti Aug 6, 2020
Documents and voicemails obtained by a local St. Louis NBC affiliate show that detectives investigating Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple that pointed weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters who entered their gated community in search of the St. Louis mayor’s house, “balked” at prosecutors’ decision to charge the McCloskeys and initially refused to sign off on prosecutors documents.
The lead prosecutor, Sgt. Curtis Burgdorf, also told prosecutors that police believed at least one protester was armed and others were wearing bulletproof vests, based on what they gleaned from security footage and other available videos.
“The lead St. Louis police detective investigating the McCloskey case refused to sign at least two versions of court documents prosecutors drafted, according to a review of those documents obtained by 5 On Your Side,” the NBC affiliate reported late last week, adding that prosecutors appeared to be pressuring police to serve a search warrant on the McCloskey residents — a warrant that eventually turned up the weapons Mark McCloskey was wielding in a now-viral video.
Lawyers for Patricia McCloskey turned in her weapon to authorities days later. It was inoperable when submitted to law enforcement.
“At this point, everything points to these weapons being real and loaded, but no one has asked or confirmed,” the prosecutor wrote to police, demanding that the cops seize the McCloskeys guns. “Come trial, they’ll say they were waiving around a BB gun and an air rifle.”
The prosecutor, Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley, also wrote to the lead detective’s commander trying to pressure detectives to move forward with the case.
“Our office is receiving inquiries from the public and press about a warrant application and potential charges. We’ve thus far said the matter ‘remains under investigation.’ I’d really like to avoid pointing to a police follow-up request as the hold-up, but I won’t control the messaging if this goes on any longer. Please see what you can do to help this along. Again, I’m asking for priority on the firearms issue,” he said.
“Hinckley also wrote the document the lead detective did sign, known as the probable cause statement,” NBC reported. “But it went through at least two revisions after Burgdorf outlined 14 concerns he had about the document, 5 On Your Side has learned.”
Specifically, Bergdorf objected to prosecutors’ claim that the McCloskeys confronted a “peaceful protest,” and that prosecutors used the terms “semi-automatic” and “assault” rifle, noting that those were non-specific “propaganda” terms. In addition, Bergdorf also corrected claims prosecutors made that weren’t borne out by evidence available to law enforcement, including that protesters went through an “open gate” and that Mark McCloskey’s gun was “visibly loaded.”
Bergdorf also insisted that the McCloskeys may have been correct in their assessment that protesters were armed and dangerous.
Some of the phrases [Bergdorf] was able to decipher from the footage collected by prosecutors from protesters included:
“You own a business. Your business is gone.”
“We coming back baby.”
“You ain’t the only (expletive) with a gun.”
“They coming back to your house.”
Although the McCloskeys have been charged, there is continuing controversy over the case, much of it aimed at St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, whom McCloskey allies claim targeted the couple for political reasons.