Armed homeowners tell protesters to get away

Rachel Rice St. Louis Post-Dispatch (TNS)
Armed homeowners standing in front of their house along Portland Place confront protesters as they march to Mayor Lyda Krewson's house on Sunday, June 28, 2020, in the Central West End in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS - As protesters made their way to Mayor Lyda Krewson's home on Sunday night, demanding her resignation, they marched and shouted along private Portland Place. They were met by a couple pointing guns and telling protesters to get away.

Protesters chanted, "Whose streets? Our streets!" The couple, Mark T. and Patricia N. McCloskey, stood outside with weapons. They are personal-injury lawyers who work together in The McCloskey Law Center and own a million dollar home.

"Private property!" Mark McCloskey shouted repeatedly at the crowd, as he held a rifle. "Get out! Private property, get out!" Patricia McCloskey pointed a small handgun.

Someone in the crowd replied, "Calm down." A woman protester yelled, "Then call the (expletive) cops, you idiot!" and "It's a public street (expletive)."

The Post-Dispatch photographed the exchange. A video on Twitter had been viewed more than 10 million times by Monday morning. President Donald Trump retweeted an ABC News account of the confrontation.

The couple's renovation of their storied Renaissance palazzo mansion on Portland Place was featured in St. Louis Magazine. City records show the property is appraised at $1.15 million. The couple could not be reached Monday morning to talk about the incident.

The crowd of protesters eventually moved on and arrived at Krewson's home on Lake Avenue a block away. It wasn't immediately clear if the mayor was home at the time.

At least 500 people demonstrated in the Central West End, chanting "Resign Lyda, take the cops with you." They are upset that the mayor released names and addresses of residents who suggested defunding the police department.

For weeks, demonstrators have marched against police violence and held rallies to close the St. Louis Medium Security Institution known as the workhouse.

While giving a briefing Friday on Facebook Live, Krewson read the names and addresses of several protesters who had given her letters suggesting changes to the city budget.

"As a leader, you don't do stuff like that ... it's only right that we visit her at her home," said State Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, speaking into a megaphone at the protest Sunday.