(CLEARWATER, Fla.) — The Florida man who invoked the “stand your ground” self-defense after shooting a black man in a dispute over a parking space was charged Monday with manslaughter, officials said.
Michael Drejka, 47, was arrested Monday morning in the fatal shooting in July of Markeis McGlockton in Clearwater, Florida.
Drejka was booked at the Pinellas County Jail and bond was set at $100,000. It was unclear if he had a lawyer and he has declined comment in the past.
Bernie McCabe, the state attorney for Pinellas County, announced his decision to file charges against Drejka 12 days after receiving investigative reports on the case from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri had initially declined to arrest Drejka after the gunman invoked the “stand your ground” defense, saying his decision was bound by the law.
“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 on Monday.
McCabe said charging Drejka is “consistent with the decision-making process established under Florida law in this case.”
McGlockton, 28, was shot on July 19 after he came out of a convenience store and saw Drejka berating his girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, about parking in a handicap zone. Surveillance video showed McGlockton shoving Drejka to the ground and Drejka, who had a legal concealed weapons permit, pulling a handgun and shooting McGlockton.
Attorneys for Jacobs, the mother of McGlockton’s three young children, and McGlockton’s parents have held several press conferences to say they do not believe Drejka should have been given immunity from arrest under “stand your ground.”
“You can’t start a confrontation and kill somebody and say, ‘Oh, I was just standing my ground,'” Jacobs attorney, Benjamin Crump, said at a press conference on Thursday.
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.”
They pointed out that the video shows McGlockton retreating from Drejka after he pushed the man down in an effort to protect Jacobs and his children.
“It took four seconds for Mr. Drejka to make that decision, the conscious decision to murder Markeis McGlockton,” Rayner said as she dramatically counted off four seconds.
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