ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Senator Josh Hawley is calling for a federal civil rights investigation into St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner after claiming she is “targeting the McCloskey family for using firearms to defend themselves and their property against a mob of protesters.”
Hawley sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr Thursday morning accusing Gardner of abusing her power in handling the investigation.
“This is an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment, and I urge you to consider a federal civil rights investigation into the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office to determine whether this investigation and impending prosecution violates this family’s constitutional rights,” Hawley wrote.
“I am deeply disappointed that a U.S. Senator would intervene in a local matter that is under investigation,” said Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner in a statement.
The McCloskeys were seen pointing firearms at protesters as they walked past their home the night of June 28. The protesters were on their way to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home in response to Krewson reading the names and addresses of people calling for the police to be defunded.
Their actions, captured on video and viewed by millions, drew praise from some who said they were legally defending their home, but scorn from others who said they risked bloodshed by displaying the weapons. Photos emerged as memes on both sides of the gun debate.
Gardner’s office was still investigating, but no charges have been filed. Gardner, in a statement, said, “I am deeply disappointed that a U.S. Senator would intervene in a local matter that is under investigation.”
Hawley isn’t the only high-level Republican to express concerns about Gardner’s investigation. The case caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who spoke by phone with Gov. Mike Parson about it Tuesday.
Parson, when he was in the Legislature, co-authored Missouri’s “castle doctrine” law that justifies deadly force for those who are defending their homes from intruders. He said the McCloskeys “had every right to protect their property.”
Read the full letter Hawley sent to Barr here: