Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground Law must be reviewed by state lawmakers after the fatal shooting death of 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton last month by Michael Drejka, Black activists argued.
“The law is too vague and give[s] too much latitude to kill at will, even in situation[s] where a safe retreat is possible and it is the right thing to do,” Marleine Bastien, executive director of the Family Action Network Movement, said to the Miami Herald and Bradenton Herald. “It should be strengthened to include clear guidelines when Stand Your Ground can apply. The law is so vague now that anyone with a bad temper, bullying and racist tendencies, and even a killer can use it to take life.”
The law has allowed people to use deadly force instead of retreating and was invoked by Drejka and Trayvon Martin‘s killer George Zimmerman. It’s a rule that excuses lethal force and if frequently used against people of color, advocates said. Given that pattern, the Florida Legislature must review the law and possibly revise it again, activists said.
Stand Your Ground was revised last year to shift the burden of proof from a defendant to make a case for immunity under the law to prosecutors to make a case for punishment. The scrutiny didn’t stop Drejka, who is white, from taking McGlockton’s life on July 19 after a heated argument in front of a convenience store in Clearwater. Drejka was charged with manslaughter by a local state attorney last week.
The calls for the law to be changed have continued, with some politicians urging for a repeal. State Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson wanted to roll back the law to “apply only to an individual’s right to defend themselves at their home,” according to NBC affiliate WFLA.