The white man who shot and killed a black man over a parking space in Florida will be charged with manslaughter after all, despite the sheriff’s office previously declining to pursue any charges due to the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. Michael Drejka, the 47-year-old who killed Markeis McGlockton after he parked in a disabled spot outside a Circle K convenience store and gas station in Clearwater in July, was charged with manslaughter Monday, according to ABC. Drejka started an argument with McGlockton’s girlfriend — with their two young children in the car — after he noticed the family park in the spot without a permit.
The Pinellas County sheriff, however, had previously declined to press charges against Drejka due to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows anyone who fears for their safety or life to use lethal force against the threat.
“We have to recognize that if Markeis McGlockton hadn’t walked up to him the way he did and slammed him on the ground, we wouldn’t be here having this discussion," Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during a press conference after the shooting.
More than three weeks later, Gualtieri has changed his tune.
"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.
The state attorney for Pinellas County, Bernie McCabe, announced his office would file charges against Drejka after receiving investigative reports from the local sheriff’s office. The charges are “consistent with the decision-making process established under Florida law in this case,” McCabe said. Drejka’s bond was set at $100,000, according to ABC. McGlockton, 28, was in the car with his young children and girlfriend Britany Jacobs, 25, before he was killed. He went into the store with his 5-year-old son when Drejka, upset about his use of a disabled parking spot, began circling the vehicle. Surveillance footage from outside the store showed Drejka talking to Jacobs before McGlockton ran out of the store, stood between them, and pushed Drejka to the ground. Drejka then shot McGlockton.
Cover image: In an Aug. 7, 2018 photo, Michael McGlockton holds a photo of his son, Markeis McGlockton, in Clearwater, Fla. Markeis was shot and killed on July 19 in Clearwater, Florida during an argument over a parking spot. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)