The Murder of Markeis McGlockton: Stand Your Ground Strikes Again…
Markeis McGlockton was murdered by Michael Drejka. Simple as that. Was the murder justified? Per the letter of how the Stand Your Ground Law of Florida as it is being interpreted by the Clearwater police who refused to arrest Mr. Drejka, yes. However; there are those of us who would disagree. That disagreement not only reflects those who disagree with the law itself, but; the very different ways that many Americans look at race. Many don’t want to admit it, but race is central to this issue. We will look at the greater social and cultural issues, but let’s first look at the facts of this particular:
“The shooting happened last Thursday July 19th, 2018, in a convenience store parking lot as a family of five was parked in a handicapped spot. Markeis McGlockton, 28, and his 5-year-old son went inside the store. That's when 47-year-old Michael Drejka confronted McGlockton's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs.
"He was just harassing me about a parking space, about a handicapped parking space," she said.
McGlockton returned and shoved Drejka to the ground, prompting Drejka to draw his gun and fire a single shot into McGlockton's chest. He stumbled back in the store and collapsed in front of his son. Just a day later, the Pinellas County sheriff declared he could not charge Drejka.”
The facts are clear and recorded. The video has spread across social media, and the debates have been fierce regarding this issue. You have some people who sympathize with the victim, but who qualify that with “Well, they shouldn’t have parked in that spot.” You have some who identify with the victim stating: “He was defending his girl, dude was yelling at and threating his girl over a stupid parking spot.” There are some that identify with the shooter saying: “He had a right to defend himself, that guy should not have touched him.”
While there is truth in all of these positions, in these three basic positions we can see the realities of not just of racial bias, but how assumptions about race and actual social and cultural differences between communities play out in the real world.
1. The: “I don’t think he should have been shot” qualified with: “But, they shouldn’t have parked in that spot” group.
While I understand that there are really a group of people who are handicapped or who have handicapped loved ones that truly feel the frustration with people parking in handicapped spots, the reality is Parking in Handicap Spots < Shooting Someone. That shouldn’t be hard for people to grasp. I am sure if the victim of the shooting was a blonde White woman; no one would contextualize their “objection” to the shooting with “but parking in a handicap spot is bad.” Not to mention, Mr. Drejka was confronting a young Black woman regarding the issue of the spot. Even if she were illegally parked, he could have taken a picture, sent it to the police. Called the police, or politely asked her to move; which odds are, would have garnered a very different response from Mr. McGlockton.
2. The: “He was defending his girl, dude was yelling at and threatening his girl over a stupid parking spot” group.
Of course, many people, regardless of color, can agree with this. You see someone acting like a raving lunatic with your girlfriend or wife, many men would have reacted in a physical matter to defend. I have heard a lot of people commenting that this is something to expect from a “real brother.” Fascinating. That in and of itself is very problematic as it plays into a distorted image of what being a real man or real Black man is. Willing to get physical when its “called for.” Here is the problem; while that may be the impulse, the reality is, that is a good way to end up with an assault charge. Especially if there are any cameras around, and as we know, they are often around. Not to mention, in post Trayvon Martin Florida, it is a good way to get shot. Because you have these people with conceal carries, who know that they can verbally cause an altercation, bring someone to anger to strike them, then they can play the victim (because legally they are the victim of an assault) and end your life because they “feel” threatened.
3. The: “He had a right to defend himself, that guy should not have touched him” group.
This again comes down to the actual issue, DID he have the right to defend himself using DEADLY FORCE? Let’s look at the law itself, the Florida State statute, 776.012 “Justifiable Use of Force” reads:
“(1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.
(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she REASONABLY believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.”
From section one, it could be extrapolated that if Mr. McGlockton believed that Mr. Drejka; who was yelling at his girlfriend, that his girlfriend was on danger of “imminent use of unlawful force” from Drejka, then McGlockton’s use of force to push Drejka out of her area would be justifiable. McGlockton’s force of pushing Mr. Drejka is what was justified looking at this.
As for Mr. Drejka, yes, he could have used force to defend himself from what he would have interpreted with unlawful force, he could have "threatened use of such force" as Mr. McGlockton was walking away from Mr. Drejka. But, if someone gets shoved or pushed is it reasonable or necessary to elevate the response to use DEADLY FORCE? Was in fact such force necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself? That is the question, and I would say no, that it was not REASONABLE for Mr. Drejka to use DEADLY FORCE because it is not reasonable to interpret a push as a threat of imminent death or great bodily harm to himself. But, this is America…
And in America, a Black man’s very presence, is threatening to people like Mr. Drejka. And always has been, because this is part of the American social psyche. Black men have been utilized as America’s boogeyman since the days of slavery. Shown as strong as an ox, hyper aggressive, low intellect, over sexualized beasts. Which brings me back to the earlier point of “distorted black male imagery.”
The media over the years has produced the imagery of Black men as gangstas, pimps, drug dealers, quick to anger and quick to use the Black man’s animalistic strength to gain compliance from others. Not to mention the imagery of inner city neighborhoods; where the crime is easily seen to anyone with eyes as a byproduct of the socioeconomic conditions; however, it is often contextualized in the racial phraseology of ‘black on black’ crime by both Whites and Blacks. It creates a standard that many Black men and boys feel that we must live up to. Further compounded by the reality that this is a distorted expectation that some Black women have for Black men as well.
By no means does this justify what I would posit is an unjustifiable use of deadly force by Mr. Drejka against Mr. McGlockton, but it does outline the actuality of the primary agitating factor as to why some people in America feel the shooting was justified. Hopefully the prosecutor’s office in Pinellas County set some precedent in defining this "stand your ground law" in using this case to show that deadly force in not always reasonable or justifiable after you yourself start an altercation and someone pushes you out of the face of someone else. Time will tell.
 Meg Oliver, “Florida parking lot shooting raises questions about state's ‘stand your ground’ law” CBSnews.com, July 23, 2018 (accessed July 30, 2018) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-parking-lot-shooting-raises-questions-about-states-stand-your-ground-law/
 Online Sunshine, Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature: The 2018 Florida Statutes, accessed July 30, 2018, http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.012.html