The Stand Your Ground law first gained prominence after the 2012 shooting death of unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin. The law has changed the equation of self-defense in the United States.
The idea behind it is to “expand the legal justification for the use of lethal force in self-defense, therefore lowering the expected cost of using lethal force and increasing the expected cost of committing violent crime,” say researchers Cheng Cheng and Mark Hoekstra in a Texas A&M study.
With Blacks disproportionately being deemed as “threatening” or “dangerous,” the laws seem to justify murdering Black men even when they aren’t the aggressors.
Twenty-four-year-old Britany Jacobs drove to Circle A Food Store located at 1201 Sunset Point Road in Clearwater, Fla., and parked in a handicapped parking space outside the business. Jacobs’ boyfriend, 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton, and their 5-year-old son, Markeis McGlockton Jr., got out of Jacob’s car and went into the convenience store.
Michael Drejka, a 47-year-old menace to the store’s owner, accosted Jacobs and began arguing with her over parking in the handicapped space. A witness saw Drejka and Jacobs arguing before walking into the store. While inside the convenience store, the witness alerted the clerk of the argument occurring in the parking lot.
According to witnesses, McGlockton left from the store and walked over to Drejka, who was still arguing with Jacobs. Video footage shows McGlockton forcibly pushing Drejka, causing him to fall to the ground. The video then shows Drejka on the ground, pulling out his handgun and firing one single shot at McGlockton, hitting him in the chest.
Although Drejka incited the incident and instigated an issue that wasn’t his concern, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Drejka will not be charged and will not be arrested for firing the fatal shot. “He felt that he was at peril and that he needed to shoot to defend himself,” said Gualtieri.
However, the state attorney’s office now has the case and will determine if charges should be filed.
Roger Futerman is a highly experienced defense attorney who has handled many high-profile cases. He believes Drejka should be charged. “You can not, just because you are pushed down and angry, fire at someone. You can, if you are truly defending yourself and you are in eminent fear. You can use deadly force against certain force. In this case, I don’t think he has a right to do what he did,” said Futerman.
Apparently, this wasn’t the first time Drejka tried to play cop. The store manager saw him yell at many other customers over similar issues.
“He’s always hanging out in the parking lot here. If he see anyone parking illegal[ly] or something like that, he just want[s] to argue with them and fight with them,” said Ali Salous.
Richard Kelly, a regular customer at the store, drives a truck and says Drejka recently yelled at him over the way he parked at the store.
“I was here a couple of months ago and the guy confronted me about parking in the handicap[ped] spot,” said Kelly.