The St. Louis couple who is facing felony charges for waving their firearms at protesters is now suing the news photographer who allegedly trespassed to take the infamous photo of the incident.
On Friday (Nov. 6), Mark and Patricia McCloskey filed the lawsuit in a St. Louis Circuit Court against the United Press International photographer Bill Greenblatt. The incident, which took place on June 28, occurred after a few hundred protesters were walking near the McCloskey’s home in St. Louis’ Central West End area. The couple then emerged outside of their home with an AR-15 rifle and a semiautomatic handgun.
The McCloskeys reportedly live on a private street and believe the photographer trespassed, and they say the photos have contributed to their “significant national recognition and infamy.”
The couple allege that UPI, Greenblatt and Redbubble are all making money from “t-shirts, masks and other items, and licensing use of photographs bearing Plaintiffs’ likenesses, without obtaining Plaintiffs’ consent.”
Their image on Redbubble merchandise is accompanied with “mocking and pejorative taglines or captions.” It has caused them “humiliation, mental anguish and severe emotional distress,” according to the lawsuit.
Last month, the McCloskeys pleaded not guilty to charges of tampering with evidence and exhibiting a weapon. According to CNN, the felony counts are punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to four years in prison.
Joel Schwartz, the couple’s attorney, said he believes St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner is politicizing the case and he will file a motion to dismiss the charges.
“I am confident that the Court will see that the Circuit Attorney has created, at a minimum, the appearance of impropriety, which casts serious doubt upon the fairness of the proceedings,” he said. “Finally, I look forward to receiving and reviewing the discovery/reports in order to understand how the Circuit Attorney intends to support these allegations against the McCloskeys and disrupting their lives.”