The white Floridian who gunned down an unarmed father of three over a parking dispute has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Michael Drejka got the book thrown at him in the 2018 death of Markeis McGlockton, wherein the sentencing judge blasted the 49-year-old, calling him a self-appointed “handicapped parking space monitor.”
The AP reports that Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone said: “He just seems to come out of nowhere, kind of like a superhero, to see that he enforces the handicapped parking spot.”
The judge was referring to the way in which the confrontation between Drejka and McGlockton began. The AP reports:
Drejka confronted Markeis McGlockton’s girlfriend Britany Jacobs in July 2018 for parking in a handicapped space at a Clearwater convenience store. McGlockton had gone inside the store with his 5-year-old son to buy drinks. As the confrontation continued, a customer went into the store and alerted McGlockton.
Security video shows McGlockton leaving the store and shoving Drejka to the ground. Seconds later, Drejka pulls out a handgun and shoots the 28-year-old McGlockton as he backs away.
The judge said he found it most ironic that Drejka drove up, illegally parked next to Jacobs’ car and then confronted her about parking illegally in a handicapped space.
It has been a long time coming for justice in this case. Initially, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri did not charge Drejka in McGlockton’s death, citing Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” statute. Even Drejka’s history of brandishing his .40-caliber Glock at others was something the sheriff called “irrelevant” at that time.
After an outcry from civil rights and activist organizations and an investigation that included video, Drejka was finally arrested and indicted for manslaughter by State Attorney Bernie McCabe.
“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,” the family said in a statement at the time. “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.”
Notably, Drejka claimed self-defense and Florida’s “stand your ground” may have gotten him off, even though it has proven to be racially biased in its application. Michele Rayner, a lawyer representing the McGlockton family, cited a 2013 study that says when a white person kills a black person and asserts “stand your ground,” they are 281 percent more likely to walk away without any type of consequence, sometimes without even going to trial.
Michael McGlockton, Markeis’ father, in an August 2018 interview with The Root, said that the “stand your ground” law “really needs to be changed, because it doesn’t benefit people of color.”
A jury found Drejka guilty of manslaughter in August of this year.