The family of Markeis McGlockton, who was killed by a white man outside a Florida convenience store, is optimistic that prosecutors will reverse the sheriff’s decision not to arrest the gunman.
The State Attorney’s Office that oversees Pinellas County cases received the controversial “Stand Your Ground” case on Wednesday, WFTS-TV reported.
Stand Your Ground protects shooters from prosecution if they feared for their life during an encounter. However, there’s no standard about what constitutes legitimate fear.
“We believe and we’re confident and we’re very hopeful that the office of Bernie McCabe will do the right thing in this case, and will file charges against Mr. Drejka (the shooter),” said attorney Michele Rayner, who represents McGlockton’s family.
McGlockton, 28, was gunned down on July 19 by 47-year-old Michael Drejka in the parking lot of a Clearwater convenience store. McGlockton pushed Drejka to the ground after McGlockton came out the store and saw Drejka arguing with his girlfriend about a handicap parking space.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gaultieri said July 20 that Stand Your Ground prevented him from charging Drejka with a crime. Following protests from the Black community, some gun rights advocates, including lawmakers and even the NRA, argued that Gaultieri misinterpreted the law.
Racial bias and confusion about how to apply the law prompted Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to call on Gov. Rick Scott on Monday to suspend Stand Your Ground.
Meanwhile, the sheriff doubled down on his decision Tuesday when he ended his investigation and turned the case over to the county prosecutor.
“My decision not to arrest is merely doing what Florida law compels,” said Gualtieri, a licensed attorney, at Tuesday’s press conference, where he reviewed the law’s requirements.
Attorneys representing the family strongly disagreed with the sheriff’s view. Failing to file criminal charges in this case is equivalent to “sanctioning a murder,” Rayner said.