Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted, according to jurors on the basis of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. It seems the same law will not work in shooter Michael Drejka’s favor.
Drejka, 48, was arrested and charged with manslaughter on Monday for killing Markeis McGlockton, 28, in a store parking lot in July. He had a history of threatening people with a firearm, who he felt violated parking or driving rules.
Benjamin Crump, the civil rights lawyer known for representing unarmed Black men who have died in violent encounters, including Trayvon Martin, signed on to represent McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs. He called Drejka a “wannabe cop,” and said the killing was “cold-blooded.”
Drejka screamed at McGlockton’s girlfriend and their children, while they were in their car, over an alleged parking violation. When McGlockton returned to the car and saw his family was being harassed, he came to their defense, shoving Drejka.
He then fired his weapon at McGlockton. The claim was Drejka was afraid for his life, so he stood his ground. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said that Drejka acted within his right to defend himself with deadly force.
However, Drejka also harassed another Black driver, Richard Kelly, threatening to shoot him for parking in the same lot a few months before.
Drejka even used racial slurs and called Kelly’s boss afterward (from the name on the truck Kelly was driving) and said Kelly was “lucky I didn’t blow his head off.”
Additionally, on Monday, the prosecution presented two other incidents when Drejka threatened drivers with his gun over driving too slow or not fast enough.
Dreika is now facing 30 years in prison.
Bernie McCabe, the state attorney for Pinellas County, who after 12 days post receiving investigative reports, announced his decision to file charges that is “consistent with the decision-making process established under Florida law in this case.”
Michele Rayner, an attorney for McGlockton’s parents, added: “This is a big step forward in the direction of justice, not only for Markeis’ family but also for society as a whole.”
The family’s lawyers showed Drejka was 12 feet from McGlockton when he opened fire, and that McGlockton had already backed up and turned away to make sure his family was okay. They said Drejka had time to steady his weapon in his hands and it took four seconds for Drejka to make “the conscious decision” to shoot McGlockton.
Congress members, NAACP, and Black Lives Matter had been involved in the call for Drejka’s arrest.
McGlockton’s family and supporters were relieved about the State Attorney’s Office finding.
McGlockton’s mother, Monica Moore-Robinson said, “I’ve just been in, I guess, a daze because that was my baby. So today when I heard that he was getting charged … I could start healing.”