Prosecutor overrules sheriff, charges Florida man in 'stand your ground' case

Michael Drejka, who fatally shot Markeis McGlockton after ...

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 7:38 AM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 7:38 AM

Michael Drejka, who fatally shot Markeis McGlockton after McGlockton shoved him in a Clearwater, Florida, convenience store parking lot, has been charged with manslaughter, officials said Monday.

"Consistent with the decision-making process established under Florida law in this case, the State Attorney conducted his review and decided to charge Drejka with manslaughter," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a news release. Previously, Gualtieri said the state's "stand your ground" laws prevented him from arresting Drejka last month.

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal defenses

Criminal law

Criminal offenses

Florida

Homicide

Law and legal system

Manslaughter

North America

Self defense cases

Southeastern United States

Stand your ground laws

The Americas

United States

Arrests

Law enforcement

Shootings

Pinellas and Pasco County State Attorney Bernie McCabe said he came to his decision to charge Drejka after a nine-day review that began August 1.

"We interviewed witnesses and looked at all the available surveillance video, and we made our decision to move forward based on all the information available," the prosecutor said.

Drejka, 48, was arrested Monday and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. His bail is set at $100,000, the sheriff's office said.

He appeared in court by video Tuesday afternoon and the judge said he would appoint a public defender.

He was not asked to enter a plea.

Family thankful

McGlockton's family praised the decision to charge Drejka.

"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.

Attorney Michele Rayner appeared at an afternoon press conference with McGlockton's parents. "This is a very long road. This is the first step among many steps," Rayner said.

Rayner and the family said that manslaughter is the correct charge in the case.

Decision not to charge

Previously, Gualtieri repeatedly referenced the force with which McGlockton pushed Drejka.

"To arrest, it must be so clear that, as a matter of law, 'stand your ground' does not apply in any way to the facts and circumstances that you're presented with," Gualtieri said.

'Stand your ground' a license to kill, attorney says

His comments came after McGlockton's family and girlfriend slammed the decision not to arrest Drejka.

Drejka is white, and McGlockton was black.

Altercation was in parking lot

McGlockton, 28, died July 19 after the altercation, which began as an argument over a parking space. His girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, had parked in a handicapped parking space, and Drejka confronted her while McGlockton was inside the store.

What you need to know about 'stand your ground' laws

McGlockton came outside, approached Drejka and shoved him to the ground, surveillance video shows. Drejka pulled out a handgun, and as McGlockton backed away from him, shot him in the chest.

"My decision not to arrest is merely doing what Florida law compels," Gualtieri said at the time. "A whole bunch of people have offered a whole bunch of different opinions. ... I'd suggest to you that the mere fact that so many people have so many different opinions validates the decision not to arrest Drejka (at) this stage."

According to the criminal complaint against him, Drejka said McGlockton tackled him and he was in fear during the incident, firing his gun in self-defense. But a detective wrote that Drejka was more than 10 feet away from McGlockton when he opened fire.

Praise from civil rights leaders

Gualtieri's initial decision not to file charges spurred cries from both sides of the political aisle, with some critics questioning whether the sheriff had correctly interpreted the law. After Monday's announcement, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and the Rev. Al Sharpton were among those applauding McCabe's decision.

"The truth has finally cut through the noise," Crump said in a statement. "I have full faith that this truth will prevail to punish this coldblooded killer who angrily created the altercation that led to Markeis' needless death."

Florida's "stand your ground" law, perhaps the strongest in the country, grants immunity to the person acting in self-defense and puts the burden of proof on the state.

"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 his Monday statement.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 92432

Reported Deaths: 2792
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6931154
DeSoto535455
Harrison370771
Jackson335867
Madison319086
Rankin316174
Lee256166
Jones237678
Forrest231769
Washington216371
Lafayette205039
Lauderdale1990124
Bolivar177565
Oktibbeha174149
Lamar157733
Neshoba1529103
Panola142426
Sunflower139643
Lowndes138957
Warren137250
Leflore135380
Pontotoc121216
Pike120448
Monroe118265
Scott115925
Copiah115733
Coahoma111227
Holmes108558
Marshall107115
Grenada105035
Lincoln104953
Yazoo103529
Simpson100742
Union97724
Tate95037
Leake93735
Adams90936
Wayne87121
Pearl River85150
Marion83633
Prentiss80317
Covington79622
Alcorn76311
Newton75022
Itawamba74621
Tallahatchie74518
George74013
Winston72019
Tishomingo65336
Chickasaw64124
Attala64025
Tippah63716
Walthall59025
Clay56516
Hancock55720
Noxubee54015
Jasper53815
Clarke53138
Smith51814
Calhoun50612
Tunica47613
Montgomery45320
Claiborne45116
Lawrence42312
Yalobusha41514
Perry39417
Humphreys37215
Quitman3725
Stone34811
Greene33817
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32311
Amite31110
Carroll31012
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28615
Sharkey26212
Jefferson2379
Benton2181
Franklin1873
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18772333
Mobile12975289
Montgomery8598173
Madison742275
Tuscaloosa7081114
Lee560359
Shelby557250
Baldwin503348
Marshall378442
Etowah330645
Calhoun324939
Morgan314226
Houston264422
Elmore249747
DeKalb232619
St. Clair219835
Walker219180
Talladega203426
Limestone194219
Cullman180817
Franklin173428
Dallas173226
Russell16922
Autauga166424
Lauderdale161633
Colbert158126
Escambia155424
Blount152714
Jackson148511
Chilton146327
Covington130327
Dale130043
Coffee12488
Pike11359
Tallapoosa112983
Chambers111742
Clarke104617
Marion92128
Butler90638
Barbour8247
Marengo69619
Winston68712
Lowndes64527
Pickens62814
Bibb61910
Hale61028
Randolph59112
Bullock58514
Lawrence57820
Monroe5738
Geneva5564
Cherokee54816
Washington54513
Perry5366
Clay5317
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw51931
Conecuh51711
Macon46720
Henry4594
Sumter41719
Fayette4159
Choctaw34412
Lamar3372
Cleburne3166
Greene30015
Coosa1603
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 67°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather