Michael Drejka, the man who shot and killed Markeis McGlockton, 28, outside a convenience store in Clearwater, Florida back on July 19th, has been arrested.
Drejka, 48, claimed “stand your ground” Florida self-defense law when police interviewed him after he took McGlockton’s life over a parking spot. Police decided not to pursue charges.
Three weeks later, after reviewing all of the investigative reports, a formal charge was filed against Drejka by state attorney for Pinellas County, Bernie McCabe.
“We have filed a formal charge, and he has been arrested, and he will now go through the court system,” McCabe said in a statement.
Here’s what you need to know about Drejka’s arrest:
1. Drejka is Facing a Manslaughter Charge, a First-Degree Felony That Could Land Him 30 Years
Drejka was arrested on Monday, August 13th, and charged with manslaughter over the death of Markeis McGlockton, police say. Bond is set at $100,000.
“We reached the conclusion that this is a charge we can prove,” McCabe told The Washington Post.
Drejka is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, August 14th, to face his charges. It’s unclear whether or not he’s retained an attorney.
2. Governor Jeb Bush Made ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law in 2005, Since Then, The Number of Justifiable Homicides by Civilians Has Increased by 200 Percent
“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,” Gualtieri said in a statement on Monday.
According to Gualtieri, Drejka thought he was going to be reattacked by McGlockton. “He felt he was in peril and needed to shoot to defend himself,” but McCabe feels the evidence proves otherwise.
Sen. Chris Smith, a Democrat representing parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, conducted a study back in March 2012 with the help of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They studied homicide data from the years 2000 to 2010, then looked to see how “stand your ground” law (enacted in 2005) had influenced the numbers.
From 2000-2006, an average of 12 justifiable homicides a year were committed by civilians. From 2006-2010, that number jumped to an average of 36 (a 200 percent increase).
3. ‘The Mere Fact That so Many People Have so Many Different Opinions Validates The Decision Not to Arrest Drejka’: Gualtieri
“My decision not to arrest is merely doing what Florida law compels,” Gualtieri said back in July.
“A whole bunch of people have offered a whole bunch of different opinions. I’d suggest to you that the mere fact that so many people have so many different opinions validates the decision not to arrest Drejka at this stage.”
Drejka told police that McGlockton tackled him inducing fear, so he fired his gun in self-defense, but in the detective notes reviewed by McCabe, it was documented that Drejka was more than 10 feet away from McGlockton when he opened fire. McGlockton had begun to walk away and was unarmed.
McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, told “Good Morning America” that Drejka started yelling at her for parking in a handicap spot while McGlockton was inside the convenience store.
“My man hears what’s going on, sees the guy yelling at me, and I’m sitting in the car. My man is defending me and his children, so he pushes him down,” she said.
“The guy is on the ground, and he pulls the gun out. . . . My dude steps back ’cause my dude is fearing for his life — all of us were,” she said.
4. Attorney Benjamin Crump on Drejka’s Arrest: ‘It’s About Time’
Prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Travon Martin after he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in 2012, gave a speech in front of Pinellas County Justice Center on July 26th demanding justice for the family of Markeis McGlockton.
Crump referred to McGlockton’s death as a “cold-blooded murder” by a “self-appointed, wannabe cop.”
“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,” Crump said.
5. The McGlockton Family Held a Press Conference After Drejka’s Arrest Was Announced to Explain Why The Charge Wasn’t Second-Degree Murder
“I’m glad that the state attorney did decide to file charges and I understand this is a start and I’m ready to fight,” Jacobs said to open Monday’s press conference.
“Many wonder why it’s manslaughter and not murder,” said McGlockton family attorney, Michelle Rainer.
Rainer brought another attorney up to explain:
In order to get a second degree murder charge, ill intent/premeditation/hatred has to be proven. If you overreact in a situation, that is not forming depraved state of mind, and you have to form depraved state of mind in order to get a conviction for second degree murder.
The McGlockton family said in the press conference that they are happy with the charges.
“I thought the guy should’ve been arrested on day one. Now that he’s arrested, I’m happy about it, but I’m just sorry that it took so long, you know, three weeks late,” said Markeis’ father, Michael McGlockton.