A year ago today, a man walked into a convenience store in Clearwater to buy snacks, not knowing he would never leave the parking lot.
Markeis McGlockton, 28, was shot and killed after an argument over a handicap parking space.
Tonight, one year later, community groups around Tampa Bay are holding a vigil for him.
Ashley Green, a member of Bay Area Dream Defenders, is one of the organizers of the vigil. She said she hopes it will show McGlockton’s family that the community hasn’t forgotten him.
“We want the family to know that we’re still with them as they grieve right now,” Green said. “Markeis is truly a family man, and we just want to show up and be present for that family today, throughout the trial, and for years to come.”
Suspect Michael Drejka admits to shooting McGlockton, but claimed he did it because he feared for his life, which is permissible under Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law. While Drejka did cite the law, his attorneys say they will not use stand your ground as a a defense in the trial, scheduled for next month.
Green said the stand your ground law doesn’t serve the people of Florida as it should, and that it’s regularly used against black individuals.
“The 'stand your ground' law is used disproportionately to protect white individuals when they harm black individuals,” Green said. “It is far less frequently seen as a valid defense when black individuals are on the other side of the equation.”
Green claimed that the has been abused before in other case, and that it’s often not used properly.
“If you are in imminent danger obviously self-defense is something that should be afforded to you. But you should not be able to confront somebody, cause the altercation, and then claim ‘stand your ground’ for a situation that you manifested,” Green said.
The vigil for McGlockton will start at 6:30 p.m. at Mt Zion Church in Clearwater.
Green said there will be spoken- word poetry, singing, and live painters to honor the artistic spirit of McGlockton.
The vigil is open to any community members who want to show their support.