Michael Drejka, a Florida man who shot and killed an unarmed Black man in a food store parking lot, has been convicted of manslaughter.
A jury of five men and a woman deliberated for more than six hours on Friday (August 23) before delivering their verdict. The case revolves around a July 2018 incident during which Drejka shot 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton, who is Black, in the chest after McGlockton shoved him.
Surveillance video shows McGlockton confronting Drejka after he confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend, who was in a car with her two young children, about parking in a handicapped spot at a food store in Clearwater, Florida.
Florida is a “Stand Your Ground” state, and it's a statute Drejka attempted to use in his defense. Right after the shooting, he allegedly told witnesses to the shooting, “Don’t worry, it’s all on camera.”
Drejka was not arrested when police arrived on the scene due to the Stand Your Ground law. But after reviewing the footage of the incident, prosecutors decided to charge him, claiming Drejka wasn’t likely in real danger.
Prosecutors say Drejka provoked the confrontation by arguing with McGlockton’s girlfriend because she was parked in a handicapped-accessible parking spot. In addition, he had no reason to fire because McGlockton was backing away.
Drejka’s attorneys say McGlockton provoked the shooting by pushing their client to the ground, claiming it made him fear he was about to be severely injured or killed. He reportedly told the detectives he has a “pet peeve” about illegal parking in handicapped spots.
According to CNN, McGlockton's family wept while the verdict was read. Drejka initially had no reaction but then started wiping tears off his face as the judge spoke to the jury.
The judge set a sentencing date for October 10. Drejka faces up to 30 years in prison.
Watch video of the verdict being read below.