Summer Nights in the CWE Gone Awry


Noah Clark, Reporter

Making national headlines, a St. Louis couple threatened protesters with firearms, claiming that they were defending their home. Reactions were divided, and the last name McCloskey quickly became a familiar one across the nation.

After receiving a letter urging her to defund the police, Mayor Lyda Krewson read the names and addresses of the people who sent her this letter on a live briefing, creating an uproar in the Saint Louis community. On Sunday, June 28th, 2020, hundreds of people in a group known as ‘Expect Us’ marched through the streets chanting that she should resign. These protesters came into Portland Place, a private street, where personal injury lawyers Mark McCloskey, 63, and Patricia McCloskey, 61, lived. As the protestors walked through Portland Place, the McCloskeys grabbed guns, came outside, and threatened the protesters, aiming their weapons at the crowd. A few minutes later, the protesters left. Mark McCloskey later said, “A mob of protesters descended on our neighborhood.” He continued, “It was a huge and frightening crowd. They broke down the gate and were coming at us.”

Kate Smith, a John Burroughs senior and resident of the Central West End explained her thoughts on the matter, stating, “I was pretty taken aback when I saw the McCloskey news, even more so when it turned up in my own neighborhood. I thought it strange, because for the most part I feel like it’s a pretty liberal area, and to see someone proudly brandishing their weapon, pointing it at BLM protesters, was jarring. But it is worth noting that there is a wide range of wealth and political opinion in the area, so it’s not wholly unexpected that there are people with those beliefs.”About a week later on the next street over, Westmoreland Place, many of the street’s residents began emailing each other. They felt that they should do something in response to the McCloskeys’ actions. If they did nothing, it might seem like they were in favor of the McCloskeys, but if they chose to speak up, people might disagree and protest them. Eventually, it was decided that a letter should be written declaring their opposition to the McCloskeys’ actions on June 28th. Tim Noonan, a Westmoreland Place resident, started the draft, but found difficulty writing it because few could agree on the wording of the letter. Eventually, the residents came to a consensus and released the letter.

When Tim Noonan was interviewed on the subject of the McCloskey’s actions, he explained, “Our country was founded on protesting. I believe that people should retain the right to peacefully protest, and not have to worry about being shot.” He also said that “By their logic, if a kid throws a frisbee in their yard, they could threaten that kid with a gun.” Anne Taussig, another Westmoreland Place resident who signed the letter, remarked, “The McCloskeys stepped outside the bounds of moral decency.” The letter written by the McCloskeys’ neighbors reads, “We condemn the behavior of anyone who uses threats of violence, especially through the brandishing weapons, to disrupt peaceful protests, whether it be in this neighborhood or anywhere in the United States.”On the night of July 3rd, ‘Expect Us’ came again to protest the McCloskeys. In response to this, the McCloskeys had guards protecting their house. The police advised everyone in the neighborhood to be indoors by 6:00 P.M, due to fear that things might quickly escalate, causing major problems. The police secured the perimeter and sent a bus of police officers to wait in case anything violent occurred. Fortunately, no person nor property was harmed.

When interviewed, Kenley Satcher, a John Burroughs seventh-grader, said that “[Mark McCloskey] told protesters they should leave, but even though they didn’t listen, guns were uncalled for.” Nathaniel Doty, a senior, also stated, “They shouldn’t have taken the law into their own hands. They should’ve just gone inside and called the police if they were worried.” While the residents of Westmoreland are taking a stand, many believe their response is only a small step towards combating the issues of police brutality and unnecessary violence that our country faces.