On July 19, Markeis McGlockton, a black father of three, was mortally wounded in a convenience store parking lot. He was shot and killed by Michael Drejka, a 47-year-old white male.
The altercation began after Markeis and his girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, parked in a handicap-accessible parking spot. McGlockton ran inside with his 5-year-old son, leaving his girlfriend and the other two children to wait in the car. Drejka approached the car and began arguing with Jacobs over their parking decision. When Jacobs exited the car, McGlockton exited the store and pushed Drejka to the ground.
Once on the ground, Drejka pulled a gun. McGlockton backed away, but was shot in the torso. According to surveillance footage, the young father then made his way back into the store before collapsing in front of his son. He later died in the hospital.
Police did not arrest Drejka, and he was later acquitted based on the “Stand Your Ground” law. This law protects those who have used deadly force in situations where they believed their life was in danger. However, many people are wondering if this was the case with Michael Drejka, including the McGlocktons’ attorney, Michele Raynor.
“There was no imminent danger that Mr. Drejka was going to die,” Rayner said, according to NPR. “There was no weapon that was brandished. Mr. McGlockton was not armed.”
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Like the Travyon Martin case, this incident is quickly becoming a controversial topic. In light of this tragic death, many people have brought up the racial disparity in “Stand Your Ground” verdicts. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump pointed out the difference in sentencing — or lack thereof.
“Just imagine if the roles were reversed and a black man approached a white woman and her toddler,” Crump said, according to BayNews. “Does anyone doubt if he’d be arrested and taken to jail? We want equal justice, nothing more or nothing less.”
Crump also brought up Drejka’s history of harassing black people over parking spots. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Drejka previously had an argument over the same parking spot, in which he used racial slurs to refer to the man.
While Drejka’s true intentions can never be truly determined, Britany Jacobs spoke out to clarify her late boyfriend’s actions. “This man was armed,” Jacobs said during a news conference on Tuesday. “He could have killed my whole family.” According to Jacobs, Markeis was just trying to protect her and the children.