There has been an arrest in the Clearwater 'stand your ground' case.
The Pinellas Pasco State Attorney's office is charging Micheal Drejka with manslaughter in the death of Markeis McGlockton.
In an interview with NPR, State Attorney Bernie McCabe said, "We received the case I think on Wednesday of the week before last. And I instructed that we go ahead and interview all the witnesses, review all of the reports, review the various videos of the scene, the actions and the interview of the defendant. And when all of that was done, I made the legal decision that this is a charge that we could prove.”
McCabe also said he spoke to McGlockton’s parents Monday morning and will be meeting with them later in the week.
According to a press release, an arrest warrant was issued Monday morning and Drejka is being booked into the Pinellas County Jail. His bond has been set at $100,000.
The State Attorney conducted his review and decided to charge Michael Drejka with Manslaughter. An arrest warrant was issued this morning and PCSO arrested Drejka. He is currently being booked at the Pinellas County Jail. Bond set at $100,000. More: https://t.co/ixI45ULsSq pic.twitter.com/XbZpGtQQhG
— Pinellas SO (@SheriffPinellas) August 13, 2018
The fatal July 19 shooting of McGlockton, a 28-year-old black man, at a convenience store in Clearwater was captured on surveillance video and led to multiple protests over why Drejka, who is 48 and white, could claim self-defense.
The incident started when Drejka approached Brittany Jacobs, the girlfriend of McGlockton to complain that she was illegally parked in a disabled spot. Police said the two got into an argument over whether she was allowed to be parked in that spot without having the right decals.
McGlockton, who had been in a nearby convienence store, came out and confronted Drejka before pushing him to the ground, authorities said. In response, Drejka shot McGlockton.
On July 20, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said that Drejka had not been arrested because of the state’s “stand your ground” law. That legislation, passed in 2005, expanded on when and where a citizen can use deadly force against another.
In a statement Monday, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said, "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."
The family for Markeis McGlockton and their lawyers have also released statements on the arrest of Michael Drejka.
Statement from the family of Markeis McGlockton in response to Michael Drejka being charged with manslaughter
“The announcement that Michael Drejka will be charged with manslaughter provides our family with a small measure of comfort in our time of profound mourning. While this decision cannot bring back our partner, our son, our father, we take solace in knowing our voices are being heard as we work for justice.
This man killed Markeis in cold blood, without a second thought about the devastating impact his actions would have on our family, but this charge gives us a measure of hope that the truth will win and justice will prevail in the end.”
Statement from Attorney Ben Crump
“My first thought on hearing this news was: It’s about time. I firmly stand behind the decision by the State Attorney's Office to charge Michael Drejka with manslaughter for killing Markeis McGlockton. This self-appointed wannabe cop attempted to hide behind ‘Stand Your Ground’ to defend his indefensible actions, but the truth has finally cut through the noise.
I have full faith that this truth will prevail to punish this cold-blooded killer who angrily created the altercation that led to Markeis’ needless death. We will continue to fight until justice is brought for the family of Markeis McGlockton.”
Statement from Clearwater Attorney Michele Rayner
“On behalf of the family of Markeis McGlockton, I commend the office of State Attorney Bernie McCabe for charging Michael Drejka with manslaughter for his cold-blooded actions. This is a big step forward in the direction of justice, not only for Markeis’ family but also for society as a whole.”
Statement from The Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights leader and President of National Action Network (NAN)
“NAN commends the Florida State Attorney’s Office for its decision to file manslaughter charges against Michael Drejka, who shot and killed Markeis McGlockton last month in a gross abuse of the state’s ‘stand your ground’ laws.
These laws are an abomination that systematize a method of vigilante justice that consistently provides cover to racists and bigots for murdering innocent Black Americans – which is why I visited Clearwater this month to stand with NAN leaders and Florida’s Democratic candidates for Governor to call for putting an end to these kinds of laws once and for all. Today’s charges offer a ray of hope – but our work is not done. NAN will continue its work as the leading advocate for change in our nation’s broken criminal justice system.”