A Florida man was arrested on a prosecutor’s warrant Monday in connection with a fatal shooting last month that a sheriff said was justified under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law.
Michael Drejka, 47, was charged with manslaughter in the July 19 death of 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton during a dispute over a handicapped parking spot at a convenience store in Clearwater.
The shooting, which was caught on video, reignited debate around the “Stand Your Ground” law, and led to demonstrations by protesters who criticized Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gulatieri for not arresting Drejka, a white man who shot and killed an unarmed black man.
Gualtieri said detectives from his office took Drejka into custody pursuant to an arrest warrant. Drejka, of Clearwater, was booked into the county jail, and bond was set at $100,000.
“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,” the sheriff said.
Family members of McGlockton said they were pleased the suspect was charged with manslaughter. Family attorney Benjamin Crump — who gained national prominence representing the family of Trayvon Martin after the black teen’s fatal shooting by a Hispanic man George Zimmerman in 2012 — said in a statement Monday: “It’s about time” Drejka was arrested.
“This self-appointed wannabe cop attempted to hide behind `Stand Your Ground’ to defend his indefensible actions, but the truth has finally cut through the noise,” Crump said. “I have full faith that this truth will prevail to punish this cold-blooded killer who angrily created the altercation that led to Markeis’ needless death.”
McGlockton, 28, of Clearwater, shoved Drejka to the ground, and then was shot and killed when Drejka, from a sitting position, pulled out a gun he legally owned and opened fire. McGlockton was shot once in the chest.
Gualtieri said “Stand Your Ground” prevented him from arresting Drejka.
“He told deputies that he had to shoot to defend himself. Those are the facts and that’s the law,” he said. “No matter how you slice it or dice it that was a violent push to the ground.”
The dispute began when Drejka began arguing with McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, 25, because she was parked in a handicapped parking space without a permit. With her were two of their children, a 3-year-old and a 4-month old.
McGlockton got involved when he came out of the store with his 5-year-old son.
The complaint stated that detectives recorded the crime scene with a 3D scanner showing that the distance between Drejka and McGlockton at the time of the shooting was about 12 feet.
It also stated that the findings of the autopsy were consistent with the video footage of the shooting in which McGlockton appeared to be turning away from Drejka when he was shot.
In addition, the complaint said that in 2012 Drejka displayed a gun during two separate road rage incidents in which he was never charged.