Markeis McGlockton thegrio.com
Markeis McGlockton. was killed by Michael Drejka in Pinellas County. (Photo courtesy of Justice for Markeis McGlockton)

The murder of Markeis McGlockton, who was fatally shot by a white man in a Florida parking lot, has sparked national debate about the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.

Besides being in a committed relationship, a son, and a father, 28-year old McGlockton was actually shot and killed in front of his girlfriend and children.

Below is a checklist of five things you need to know about the circumstances surrounding McGlockton’s tragic death and why many already suspect that justice may once again skip over a grieving Black family.

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1. He lost his life over a parking space 

Surveillance video shows that on July 19, 2018, McGlockton’s girlfriend Britany Jacobs was sitting in the parking lot of a convenience store in Clearwater, Florida, waiting for him to come out.

That’s when Michael Drejka, 47, walked over to her to complain about her being illegally parked in a handicap space. When McGlockton found out the older gentleman was yelling at Jacobs, he came outside to defend his partner and children who were also in the vehicle. The argument escalated and McGlockton shoved Drejka to the ground.

That’s when Drejka, who is white and a legal firearm owner with a concealed carry permit, shot McGlockton even though McGlockton had begun to walk away and was no longer posing a threat.

“If you count it, between the time that Drejka goes to the ground, and the time he shoots, it’s a count of four seconds. It’s a count of four, no more than five. It’s a very short amount of time,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County at a news conference the next day

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2. The shooter has a history of parking disputes

As soon as the shooting happened the store owner was quick to tell news outlets that Drejka has a history of causing trouble and getting into disagreements with his customers.

According to ABC Action News, the owner says he has called the police several times because Drejka likes to “find someone to argue with.”

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Rich Kelly, a regular customer of the store, told The Tampa Bay Times that Drejka used racial slurs and threatened to kill him during an earlier encounter.

“It’s a repeat. It happened to me the first time. The second time it’s happening, someone’s life got taken,” Kelly said “He provoked that.”

It is also worth noting that in 2012, another driver accused Drejka of pulling a gun during a road rage incident. Drejka denied he showed the gun, and the accuser ultimately declined to press charges.

3. McGlockton children were present during the shooting 

Jacobs says McGlockton was her high-school sweetheart and the pair had been together since 2009. The family stopped by Circle-A-Food Store on the way home just to grab chips and drinks. Jacobs parked in the handicap spot because the parking lot was busy and they only planned to be inside for a minute.

The couple’s 4-month-old and 3-year-old children were in the car with their mother when an angry Drejka approached them. Their 5-year-old, named after McGlockton, was in the store with his father. After the shooting, the boy had to go through the traumatizing experience of watching his mother applying pressure to his father’s bullet wound with an extra shirt.

“He’s not too good,” Jacobs admitted. “It comes and goes, but he knows he (his father) is dead.”

The 25-year-old mother says she wants justice, and can’t emphasize enough that Drejka went up to her while she was quietly sitting in her car with her kids.

“He’s getting out like he’s a police officer or something, and he’s approaching me,” she said. “I minded my own business … I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“It’s a wrongful death. It’s messed up. Markeis is a good man … He was just protecting us, you know?” Jacons said Friday. “And it hurts so bad.”

4. The police refuse to arrest the shooter

On Friday, July 20, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri confirmed during a press conference that the police had no plans to take Drejka into custody.

“After being slammed to the ground, he felt he was going to be further attacked,” he explained.

“The Florida Legislature has created a standard that is a largely subjective standard. The person’s subjective determination of the circumstance they were in, the fear that they had, is relevant to the determination of whether they were justified in the use of force. The law in the state of Florida today is that people have the right to stand their ground and have a right to defend themselves when they believe they are in harm,” Gualtieri continued.

“We’re gonna refer this to the state attorney’s office. The state attorney’s office will review it, and apply the law to the facts, and make a determination as to whether something should be charged.”

5. Al Sharpton, Benjamin Crump and others have called for protests 

Sunday, Rev. Al Sharpton announced he plans to protest this senseless shooting on August 5th at a Clearwater church. That morning Sharpton tweeted he would attend a “Rally for Markeis McGlockton.”

Attorney Benjamin Crump — who previously worked on the case of Trayvon Martin — called the incident “cold-blooded murder … by the self-appointed, wannabe cop Michael Drejka.”

A few hours after Sharpton’s announcement was made, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democratic candidate for governor, sent out a press release stating he would be speaking at a town hall related to the shooting with Clearwater Police Chief Daniel Slaughter.

Later that afternoon Gillum also spoke at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church and charged voters to make the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law  a make-or-break issue for candidates come November.

NAACP leaders, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and several clergy were also inside the packed church along with McGlockton’s immediate family sitting in the front row, and 150 members of the audience, who filled the brick building’s pews.

“We … know that ‘stand your ground’ is not colorblind,” said Gillum. “Because of the color of my skin, I represent a certain level of threat.”

“What ‘stand your ground’ did was, it took castle doctrine and took it into the streets,” he said, arguing it allows bigots to pretend everything is threat. “Maybe you speak a little too loud. Maybe your skin is a little too dark.”

Gillum received overwhelming applause after he asked the crowd if they were prepared to refuse to vote for candidates who support the law.

“This comes down to electing elected officials who understand that their top priority needs to be the repeal of ‘Stand Your Ground,’?” Gillum said.

NAACP Clearwater/Upper Pinellas Branch President Marva McWhite called McGlockton’s death “an act of senseless, and, I believe, preventable violence,” and said the group “must ask every candidate running for public office if they will support sensible gun safety and gun control legislation.”