Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis attorneys who famously pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters during this summer’s racial unrest in an effort to protect their property, sat for a revealing interview with OZY’s co-founder and CEO on The Carlos Watson Show. You can find some of the best cuts here from the full interview, which you can find on the show’s podcast feed.
A Second Scary Night
Carlos Watson: How do you guys think back about that night as you stand here today in January?
Mark McCloskey: The interesting thing to us is that only that first night, only June 28 ever gets reported by the media. And that was the easier of the two events. The mob came back on July 3 with the express intent of killing us and burning down the house. And now this mob was estimated between 500 and 1,000. And that was the scary night. That was the time when we really thought the end had come. We had a long time trying to get some security and the people we normally hire — in our business from time to time we hire secondary employment cops — nobody wanted to get involved because of the bad press we attract. We were referred to a high-end global security firm that’s based about 50 miles from here.
They’ve gotten bad press over the Ferguson incident and they didn’t want to get involved. The guy finally tells me: “What I’d do is just take whatever you can’t live without, put it in your cars, drive away and just abandon your house.” And I said, “Well, no effing way in heck I’m going to do that. We’re going to go down with this ship if we have to.”
I’ve gotten a call from the White House earlier in the week. And one of the guys at the White House said the president wanted to express his support. If there’s ever anything we can do for you, give us a call, let us know. So now it’s Thursday night before that Friday, July the third, we had every belief that we were going to die. And our daughter who was staying with us came and gave us a hug and a kiss and took her favorite stuffed animal from when she was 3 years old and left thinking she’d never see us again.
And I got back from the White House on the phone and I said, well, you said that there’s ever anything you can do give us a call. So it’s a heck of a good time. And so he gave me Mark Meadows’ cellphone number. I called up Mark Meadows and tell him the story. And then the next call I made was to Tucker Carlson. And I was sitting on the bench in the kitchen and Patty was sitting beside me, sobbing because we thought we were going to die. We had not been to sleep since that previous Sunday night. We’d spent the whole week hiding valuables and stuffing things in walls and under beds and stuff. And Tucker put us on the air and said, “I’m talking to Mark McCloskey,” and I hear Patty sobbing in the background and told the story. When that Friday came, we were pretty certain we were going to die. But it all came together. We had tremendous support at the end. We had some SEALs came up from Texas and from one guy, fourth-generation cattle farmer. A Navy SEAL drove in from Kansas, just put his gear in his truck and drove here. We have support from from the government. As result of Tucker Carlson’s call, there were maybe 10 or so secondary employment cops from rural jurisdictions that weren’t afraid to have their name on the press if they had to.
CW: So, if someone were to say to you, “I hear that, and I hear some of what you’re saying.” They may say, “I don’t agree with all of it. I don’t agree with your characterization of it, but I understand that if you’re outside and there are lots of people out there and there’s noise and there’s concern, and there’s lots of stress all around, I understand how someone could come to that place. But that if you’d stayed in the house, if you’d not pulled guns out, that they would not have come in and that they likely would have just moved on and kept walking through the neighborhood.” You say what to that?
MM: Am I supposed to interview each person as they breached that gate and say, “Are you the good protester or are you the violent mobster? Are you a person who just wants to make some noise so you get on TV, or are you one of those people that shot police officers and burn 7-Eleven’s and kill [police officer] David Dorn?” Am I supposed to individually assess each of these people as they walk through the gate? It’s ridiculous.
I mean, we were terrified, legitimately so, and look what did happen. No shot got fired. Nobody got hurt. Not even a sidewalk got painted. The only casualty that day, other than our psyches, was an iron gate that had been there since 1888. What happened when they leave here? They go to the Mayor Krewson’s house. They shoot fireworks through a window trying to set it on fire. They accost news reporters with semi-automatic weapons. This was not a crowd which you could trust to be harmless, and every indication was that they had no intention of being harmless.
Patty McCloskey: Well, the interesting thing is uninformed people, I see it in the paper, I’ve seen it in a lot of things, saying that this street was chosen because it’s a bastion of white supremacy or white imperialism or something. They don’t know. The neighbor right across the street from me is Black and his father was Black. They’ve been living there since 1972. Next-door to me, a mixed couple, Black and white, with mixed children. I have…
MM: Gay guys across the street next-door.
PM: … gay guys, white guys, Chinese people. I mean, everybody. I mean…
MM: There are 42 houses in this street. As of right now, I think that there are probably what, five? That are African American. Mostly they’re, well, not mostly, I hate to characterize, lots of mixed couples, gay couples, and it’s been that way for the whole 33 years we’ve been there. This has always been about as diverse a neighborhood as you’re going to find in St. Louis.
PM: And liberal.
MM: And liberal. St. Louis, as you may know, is one of the most racially divided cities in the country. I knew that south St. Louis was almost all white, north St. Louis is almost all Black, and there’s very little interchange between the races here with the exception of this specific neighborhood, where it’s always been a mixed neighborhood and no one’s ever had any problem with it.
PM: But I see newspaper articles written saying no Black person would ever be allowed to live there. In fact, “They weren’t allowed to live there,” they say, “under the restrictions.” That was never under our restrictions. That never happened. There have been people here and happily. We’re all happy. It’s kind of shocking that they can say these things. I think that the people that maybe that decided, “Hey, let’s stop in on this particular street because they are all those things you might’ve heard about in the paper,” they’re just uninformed and the paper’s at fault for that.
Impact of Trump
CW: Do you think on race relations he’s been a good president?
PM: Yeah, I believe so. Because when I see the mainstream news, they’re putting those things together, saying that race relations and prison reform are the same thing. Because we’re putting people in prison, African Americans in prison, for things that you wouldn’t for white-collar crime. So I put those things together, but I think there were opportunity zones, I think he’s set up like in St. Louis. There’s a zone here where he’s bringing in extra help for police to help an African American community. I don’t know any African American that wants fewer cops. He says, I’ll give you more cops because they need help. They’re afraid. I would say 85 percent of our clients are African American and have been for 15 years. And we become very close. We’re not these kinds of people that just say, you know, “Sign you up and we’ll see you. We don’t even know who you are.” We come in and talk to them daily. And I know what they’re like, and I…
CW: Sorry, you said 85 percent. So 85 percent of your clients are African American?
CW: And what has happened since this? Have they stayed? Have African Americans continued to be your clients or have they said, “I don’t like what I saw. I don’t like what I heard. I like you as a person, but I don’t respect the choices you’ve made.” And have they chosen other lawyers?
PM: Everyone has said, “I would have done the same thing as you. I talked to my friends that would have done the same thing as you.” One was the girl that I told you about that called and said, “I still love you. And I know that’s not you. And I know that they want you to pay for it.” But not one has left and not one has said. And we’ve gotten calls from clients from way back saying, “I know you people, and I would have done the same thing and I understand it. And so not a one.”
On Black Lives Matter
CW: Now, I was surprised in some of the interviews that I thought I heard you say that you supported Black Lives Matter. Is that true? I don’t want to put words in your mouth. Is that true?
MM: My lawyer said it in those words one time and I corrected him, and I’ve corrected it on every media event that’s asked me that question. I support equal justice under the law. I support equal rights for all people. I’m a big believer in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I recognize the Black Lives Matter organization as a Marxist organization. That’s antithetical to everything I believe in. I believe that amongst other things, the biggest impediment to success in the African American community is degradation of family values and the lack of cohesive family organization and Black Lives Matter disavows traditional families, Black Lives Matter disavows…
CW: Mark, Mark, Mark, sorry. You think that’s a bigger impediment to Black success than systemic racism?
MM: I don’t… I can’t answer that question. I can tell you from personal experience of living in the murder capital of the world for most of my life, St. Louis is a remarkably dangerous place if you’re an African American, and that’s because of Black-on-Black violence. So we had 262 murders in the city of St. Louis last year, highest murder rate in 50 years, almost exclusively Black-on-Black violence, and no one wishes to address that issue. And certainly Black Lives Matter does not wish to address that issue.