Florida man charged with manslaughter in ‘stand your ground’ case

Michael Drejka, who fatally shot Markeis McGlockton after McGlockton shoved him in a Clearwater, Florida, convenience store parking lot, has been charged with manslaughter, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office 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,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a news release.

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

Previously, Gualtieri said the state’s “stand your ground” laws prevented him from arresting Drejka last month.

“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.

His comments came after McGlockton’s family and girlfriend slammed the decision not to arrest Drejka. Drejka, 47, is white, and McGlockton was black.

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

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.”

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.