This morning Sheriff Gualtieri of Pinellas county doubled down on his decision to not arrest Michael Drejka for the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton based on the Stand Your Ground law in Florida.
McGlockton was shot and killed by Michael Drejka on July 19th when he tried to defend his family by pushing an irate Michael Drejka to the ground after Drejka started an argument with McGlockton’s girlfriend over a handicapped parking space.
Drejka claimed he acted to defend himself even though McGlockton had taken a step back after he pushed Drejka. Sheriff Gualtieri says Drejka is protected under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
In a press conference Tuesday morning Gualtieri said, “The law says don’t arrest in this situation and let the State Attorney figure it out.” However, the Sheriff has not yet turned the case over to the State Attorney. Gualtieri also said not all the evidence has been made public and there are videos showing different angles of the incident.”
The Sheriff said the law states that law enforcement may not arrest and the suspect is immune from criminal prosecution including arrest and from being detained in custody.
Gualtieri cited Florida statutes 776.032 and 776.012 to defend his decision.
“This is an ongoing investigation by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and is an open case,” Gualtieri said.
Gualtieri said, he has a longstanding relationship with the NAACP and the Upper Pinellas Ministerial Alliance but they declined to attend the press conference only 30 minutes prior to his announcement.
Marva McWhite of the The Clearwater Upper Pinellas County Branch of the NAACP said in a statement, “We have no intentions of standing with the Sheriff on this issue. We have from the onset called for an arrest, we have never wavered, and we will continue to demand justice.”
The NAACP’s statement said the Upper Pinellas County Ministerial Alliance mirrored their stance.
The NAACP said, “The Sheriff made mention in his press conference that he met with both groups and thought we were on the same page. The page we are on is that we were still calling for an arrest. The Sheriff made it clear that ‘The bus had left his station,’ so the next stop (State Attorney McCabe’s office) would have to address this issue.”
Gualtieri also said, “to those who were outraged by the law and don’t like the law, change it.”