Donald Trump retweets video of St Louis couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters
Only yesterday Missouri couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey stood on their porch pointing guns towards protesters who were calling for police reform.
Protesters filmed it, and one version of the video has been watched more than 6 million times.
At the time of publication, it’s been retweeted more than 30,000 times. One of those retweets is from US President Donald Trump.
Here’s what you need to know about the story.
The protesters weren’t there for the couple
On Friday last week, St Louis mayor Lyda Krewson held a Facebook Live briefing in which she read the names and addresses of those who wrote letters about wanting to defund the police force.
The names and letters are considered public records, but the video was later removed and Krewson apologised the same day, saying she didn’t intend to cause distress.
On Sunday, the group of about 500 protesters were marching towards Krewson’s home to demand her resignation.
The McCloskeys’ home is in the same neighbourhood.
The couple said they heard a commotion and saw people break a ‘no trespassing’ sign
Mark McCloskey told KMOV-TV that he and wife, who are personal injury lawyers, were facing an “angry mob” on their private street and feared for their lives on Sunday night.
“This is all private property,” he said later in an interview.
“There are no public sidewalks or public streets. I was terrified that we’d be murdered within seconds, our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob.”
It didn’t take long before videos posted online showed the couple standing outside their Renaissance palazzo-style home. Mark could be heard yelling while holding a long-barrelled gun. Patricia stood next to him with a handgun.
In the video and others on social media, some protesters can be seen pausing to film or photograph the couple, while others can be heard to shout, “Keep moving!” and “Let’s go!”.
The Reverend Darryl Gray, an organiser with ExpectUs, who used a megaphone to urge protesters to keep moving after the couple brandished firearms, blamed Krewson, saying she “threw gasoline on an already burning fire” by releasing people’s home addresses.
“In this climate of hatred and this climate of fear and the concern activists have for safety, we didn’t feel that this was the most prudent thing to do in this particular time,” Gray said.
The videos travelled around the internet. Quickly
Supporters of the protesters turned the McCloskeys into memes.
Those who have railed against the Black Lives Matter protests used images of pair to make their own political points.
The couple have since expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement
Their attorney, Albert Watkins, told The Associated Press on Monday that the couple are long-time civil rights advocates and support the message of the Black Lives Matter movement.
He said they grabbed their guns when two or three protesters — who were white — violently threatened the couple and their property and that of their neighbours.
“The most important thing for them is that their images (holding the guns don’t become the basis for a rallying cry for people who oppose the Black Lives Matter message,” Watkins said.
“They want to make it really clear that they believe the Black Lives Matter message is important.”
Kimberly Gardner, the city’s chief prosecutor, said she was alarmed by the videos and that her office was investigating the confrontation between the McCloskeys and protesters.
“We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated,” she said in a statement.
Finally, the Donald Trump retweet
As the video spread across Twitter, it found its way to the US President.
He didn’t offer any extra commentary with his retweet of a video of the clash from the American ABC News to his 82.5 million followers.
Afterwards, he retweeted a number of his own tweets with images of posters from the US Park Police attempting to identify individuals allegedly involved in the Black Lives Matter Protests in Washington DC.
It comes after Trump drew swift condemnation for retweeting video of a Florida supporter shouting “white power”, and later deleted it.
The White House said the President had not heard the slogan.