Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law and Recent Shooting Over Parking Spot Sparks Controversy

A deadly July shooting in a Circle A convenience store parking lot in Clearwater ignited community outrage over Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law.

28 year-old Markeis McGlockton was fatally shot outside of the convenience store by Michael Drejka, 48, after a dispute over a handicap parking space.

McGlockton and his girlfriend parked in a handicap spot at the Circle A, which angered Drejka. McGlockton entered the store with his five-year-old son. When McGlockton saw Drejka arguing with his girlfriend, he exited the store and pushed Drejka to the ground. On the ground, Drejka pulled out his gun and fatally shot McGlockton.

Drejka told officers that he feared that McGlockton would attack him again, and that is why he shot him. This is in line with the stand your ground law.

Pinellas County Sheriff announced that he would not arrest Drejka. The Sheriff cited Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law to justify this decision.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

The law states lethal force can be justified when an individual is faced with an imminent threat. The law allows individuals to respond to threats or force without the fear of being prosecuted. In other states, self-defense laws include a “duty to retreat” before responding with force is justified. This means that if the individual who is being threatened needs to attempt to retreat before responding with deadly force. In Florida, there is no “duty to retreat”. Pinellas County Sheriff decided that the stand your ground law applied to the altercation between McGlockton and Drejka. Because Drejka was pushed to the ground by McGlockton, and Drejka reported to officers that he feared for his life.

Drejka has been accused of making threats over handicap parking spots in the past. Court filings report that three additional incidents have occurred where Drejka was accused of harassing other people over handicap spots. Richard Kelly, told the sheriff’s office that about three months ago Drejka had threatened to shoot him because he parked in a handicap spot. In January 2012, Drejka was accused of threatening two teenagers with a pistol after they stopped at a yellow light. In December 2012, he reportedly waved his gun at a woman because she was driving too slowly through a school zone. No charges were filed against him in any of the listed incidents.

Protesters gathered at the Circle A on July 22nd to encourage the State Attorney’s office to arrest Drejka and to protest Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

On August 13th, State Attorney Bernie McCabe overruled the Sheriff’s decision and filed charges against Drejka for manslaughter.

Call Pallegar Law, P.A.

If you or someone you know has been charge with a gun-related crime, contact an experienced Sarasota criminal defense attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. (941) 893-5816 for your free consultation.

Sources

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/29/us/stand-your-ground-law-explainer-trnd/index.html

https://www.npr.org/2018/07/25/632305405/after-parking-lot-shooting-floridas-stand-your-ground-law-scrutinized-again

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.013.html

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