The St. Petersburg Branch NAACP calls for justice for Markeis McGlockton

Maria Scruggs

BY MARIA L. SCRUGGS, President, St. Petersburg Branch NAACP

Under Section 776.012, Florida Statutes, “a person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.”

On Thursday, July 19, Markeis McGlockton lost his life trying to defend his family from a vigilante, Michael Drejka, who decided it was his right to police a handicap parking space at a Clearwater convenience store. In doing so, he threatened McGlockton’s family and then after murdering him, Drejka claimed that he was in fear of his life.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s interpretation of Florida Statues776.012 is that Drejka had sufficient cause to claim that he was in fear of his life, and as a result, was not immediately arrested for the murder of McGlockton.

Sheriff Gualtieri asserts that Drejka’s prior state of mind regarding the parking space had no bearing once he decided to take a fatal shot at McGlockton. If Drejka’s previous statements and actions do not come into play, what standard or law is it that the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office used to determine that he did, in fact, have a reasonable fear of his life?

Is it merely because he took a page out of the George Zimmerman playbook on how to kill black men and get away with it by simply stating he was in fear of his life?

If the defendant is in his or her home or vehicle, then under Section 776.013, Florida Statutes, the law will presume that the defendant had a reasonable fear of imminent death or bodily harm if the alleged victim unlawfully entered or remained or attempted to remove another person against their will.

Drejka was not in his home or vehicle.

Facts Matter:

• Drejka previously stated he would shoot anybody that parked in that handicap space.

• Drejka approached McGlockton’s car and began verbally attacking his family.

• McGlockton pushed Drejka in defense of his family.

• McGlockton did not follow through with a punch or any other aggressive attack towards Drejka.

• McGlockton took a step backward not forwards to retreat when Drejka fired the fatal shot.

Where and how did the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office determine Drejka had a “reasonable” fear of his life?

The St. Petersburg Branch NAACP is calling on State Attorney Bernie McCabe to issue an arrest warrant for Drejka on the grounds that he shot and killed McGlockton. Drejka’s own actions and words negate the possibility he could have reasonably been in fear of his life.

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