Published: Mon, August 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Manslaughter charge filed in Clearwater 'Stand Your Ground' case

Manslaughter charge filed in Clearwater 'Stand Your Ground' case

In this July 19, 2018, image taken from surveillance video released by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Markeis McGlockton, far left, is shot by Michael Drejka during an altercation in the parking lot of a convenience store in Clearwater, Fla.

"I support the State Attorney's decision and will have no further comment as the case continues to work its way through the criminal justice system", Gualtieri said in a statement Monday.

"This man killed Markeis in cold blood, without a second thought about the devastating impact his actions would have on our family, but this charge gives us a measure of hope that the truth will win and justice will prevail in the end", a family statement said.

McGlockton's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, who was seated in the couple's auto with two of their children, ages 3 years and 4 months, said Drejka confronted her for being parked in a handicapped-accessible space.

Instead, Gualtieri opted to hand over the evidence to the State Attorney's Office and allow prosecutors to decide whether to charge Drejka.

Monday morning, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office issued the update on behalf of the State Attorney's Office, explaining that charges were being filed.

That is the justification required by Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law, notwithstanding much confused criticism implying that the state is especially permissive in situations like this.

The shooting, which was caught on video, reignited debate around the "Stand Your Ground" law and led to demonstrations by protestors who criticized Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gulatieri for not arresting Drejka, a white man who shot and killed an unarmed black man.

McCabe said charging Drejka is "consistent with the decision-making process established under Florida law in this case". McGlockton, 28, had gone into the store with their 5-year-old son.

"He told deputies that he had to shoot to defend himself".

Mr Gualtieri had forwarded the case to the state attorney's office on 1 August. "Today's decision is another example why Florida's broken "stand your ground" law must be repealed so that justice in this case and every other tragedy can never be delayed or denied". Drejka, still sitting on the ground, draws a pistol, prompting McGlockton to back away, at which point Drejka shoots him in the chest.

"He believed that McGlockton was going to come back at him, and he fired in a very short amount of time - four-seconds, probably; somewhere in that range".

Witnesses say he then collapsed before shoppers called 911.

Michele Rayner, an attorney representing McGlockton's parents, added that the "stand your ground" statute requires the existence of a "reasonable fear that you are in imminent danger of losing your life or [suffering] great bodily injury".

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