Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is the answer to the question: Where’s the merit in Critical Race Theory? Because for an academic study that examines how race affects American structures such as our legal system, Parson’s method for how he decides who’s worth his official pardon would make for a perfect case study.
In June, Parson said pardoning a Black inmate who has been in prison for more than 40 years for a triple murder state and federal prosecutors now say he didn’t commit just isn’t a priority for his office. So what type of case does Parson think is worth prioritizing? Well, on Tuesday, he announced the pardoning of a gun-toting white couple who loves firearms but hates anti-racism protesters.
According to the Associated Press, Parson announced that he had fulfilled his promise to pardon Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the white St. Louis couple who were indicted by a grand jury for brandishing guns at protesters who were marching past their home in June last year.
The Great Value Boris and Natasha couple became Republican sweethearts after the incident, which earned them an invite to the Republican National Convention, so it’s no surprise that a conservative governor thought they were worth pardoning while deciding a Black man who’s been locked up since 1978 can wait his turn for clemency consideration.
As The Root previously reported, Parson said in September that he “most certainly would” pardon the couple if they were convicted.
“We’ll let it play out and see how this all comes out in the courts, but I stand by what I said,” Parsons told reporters. Unfortunately, he didn’t have that same energy for a falsely accused non-criminal in June.
The Associated Press reports 62-year-old Kevin Strickland, a Black man, has been in prison for more than 40 years for a triple murder prosecutors now say he didn’t commit. Parson, a white Republican who, like most people, will never know what it’s like to have his freedom taken away for something he didn’t do, said in a news conference at the time that setting Strickland free simply isn’t at the top of his office’s to-do list.
“When something like that comes up, we look at those cases, but I don’t know that that necessarily makes it a priority to jump in front of the line,” he said. “We understand some cases are going to draw more attention through the media than others, but we’re just going to look at those things.”
You would think Parson was describing a case where someone got a speeding ticket while not being able to afford any more points on their driver’s license. Instead, his casual AF attitude is something he thinks is appropriate for a case where he’s been asked to consider the clemency petition for someone who prosecutors say has been falsely imprisoned for more than four decades.
Parson also noted that Strickland was tried and found guilty “by a jury of his peers.” There’s only one problem with that statement—it’s a whole-ass lie.
From the AP:
The Star reported in September that two men who pleaded guilty in the killings for decades swore Strickland was not with them and two other accomplices during the shooting. The only eyewitness also recanted and wanted Strickland released.
In a petition filed with the Missouri Supreme Court in May, defense attorneys also noted that prosecutors removed the only four Black potential jurors from the trial for Strickland, who is Black.
Because of the prosecution’s “racially motivated” strikes, Strickland’s fate was decided by an all-white jury during a trial overseen by a white judge with white lawyers, the Star reported.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, federal prosecutors in the Western District of Missouri, Jackson County’s presiding judge and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas have all called for Strickland to be granted clemency, according to the AP.
In contrast, not only did the McCloskeys plead guilty to the charges against them, but after his plea hearing in May, Mark unabashedly declared, “I’d do it again!”
“Any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family,” he said, AP reports. “Today we are incredibly thankful that Governor Mike Parson righted this wrong and granted us pardons.”
In fact, the only consistency Parson has shown in the two cases is his unwillingness to listen to prosecutors.
According to AP, Special prosecutor Richard Callahan said his investigation determined that the protesters the couple was pointing dangerous weapons at were peaceful.
“There was no evidence that any of them had a weapon and no one I interviewed realized they had ventured onto a private enclave,” Callahan said.
So yeah—we see where Parson’s “priorities” lie. They lie with white supremacy and indifference to Black suffering.