A St Louis couple who made headlines nationwide for standing on their porch brandishing guns aimed at Black Lives Matter demonstrators have been in a long-running, gun-toting row with their neighbors, it has emerged.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a husband and wife personal injury attorney duo, were filmed on Sunday evening aiming at protesters who walked by their mansion on the way to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house.
They said they were scared, and were defending their property.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, pictured on Sunday night with guns outside their home, have been engaged in a long-running row over a 1,143 sq ft patch of land near their property
The disputed area around their St Louis property is marked in red
The personal injury lawyers confronted protesters who marched past their home Sunday
Yet the couple have been long engaged in a different battle for their home – this one waged at the St. Louis Circuit Court since 2017, which has also seen guns drawn.
The trustees of Portland Place, where they live, say the ‘sliver of land’ beside their home belongs to them, as it was described in assessor’s documents more than 116 years ago.
The McCloskeys, however, say the legal concept of ‘adverse possession’ means they own it – the idea that land can be occupied and, after a period of many years, owned.
In an affidavit, Mark McCloskey described the land as lying within their block, and said it ‘consists of one thousand one hundred forty-three (1,143) square feet’ and ‘laying north of the Portland Place sidewalk’.
On Monday, Judge Joan Moriarty ruled against the McCloskeys’ motion to end the case without a trial, which means the three-year battle continues.
The McCloskey’s home in St Louis, at One Portland Place, is in a gated community
‘Between the time of acquisition of One Portland Place and the construction of the above-referenced ten foot wall, the McCloskeys regularly prohibited all persons, including Portland Place residents, from crossing the Parcel including at least at one point, challenging a resident at gun point who refused to heed the McCloskeys’ warnings to stay off such property,’ states an affidavit in the lawsuit.
The McCloskeys and the trustees have argued over seeding and landscaping, over tiles and tuckpointing, and even over the ‘Private Street’ sign.
According to the lawsuit, obtained by the St Louis-Post Dispatch, ‘Mark McCloskey dug up the sign and reinstalled it on the south side of the sidewalk.’
McCloskey on Tuesday night told CNN he was scared for his life by the ‘mob’ of protesters.
‘I was a victim of a mob that came through the gate,’ he said.
‘I didn’t care what color they were. I didn’t care what their motivation was.
‘I was frightened, I was assaulted, and I was in imminent fear that they would run me over, kill me, burn my house.’
McCloskey, 63, rejected the suggestion he was a symbol for those who rejected Black Lives Matter.
‘I’m not the face of anything opposing the Black Lives Matter movement,’ he said, calling the notion ‘completely ridiculous.’
‘I was a person scared for my life who was protecting my wife, my home, my hearth, my livelihood.’
Albert Watkins, a St. Louis attorney for the McCloskeys, said in a statement to The Washington Post that they ‘acted lawfully’ out of ‘fear and apprehension.’
The confrontation was not race-related, he added, and white ‘agitators’ were responsible for provoking the white couple.
‘My clients, as melanin-deficient human beings, are completely respectful of the message Black Lives Matter needs to get out, especially to whites,’ he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.