Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law a license to kill young black men?
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Markeis McGlockton, 28, was “legally” murdered in Florida last week for standing up to a white man in the same way black folks were lynched in the Jim Crow era.
McGlockton was gunned down after he came to the aid of his girlfriend and the mother of his three children, Britany Jacobs, who was being verbally abused by the man for parking in a handicapped spot.
But because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the shooter was able to walk away without facing charges.
The modern-day lynching occurred days before what would have been Emmett Till’s 77th birthday.
Till was 14 years old when he was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of “whistling at a white woman.”
The incident that led to the fatal shooting of McGlockton started when the shooter — Michael Drejka — took it upon himself to police a convenience store’s parking lot.
McGlockton and Jacobs, along with their three young children, pulled their vehicle into the handicapped parking space, and the father ran inside the convenience store with one of the children to buy candy.
When he came out, he found Drejka verbally attacking Jacobs for parking in the space.
But what made Drejka even think he had a right to approach Jacobs, let alone to berate her? And was he emboldened because he had a concealed weapon?
I often walk my dog on the lakefront path here in Chicago. There are “No Dogs allowed on the beach” signs posted everywhere. Recently, I saw one of my neighbors gleefully romping on the beach with his dog as if the signs didn’t apply to him.
Did that irritate me?
Of course it did. But that didn’t give me the right to confront the man.
Drejka’s aggressive behavior was a throwback to the days when black people had to silently endure his kind of B.S.
But a man who would let another man verbally assault his woman isn’t much of a man. McGlockton did what any real man in his situation would have done.
He put a stop to the harassment by pushing the 47-year-old Drejka.
A much younger man, McGlockton could have put Drejka’s lights out with one strong punch. Or he could have pummeled the older man with fists of fury. But he didn’t.
He swatted Drejka away like a fly.
In response, Drejka fired his weapon, hitting McGlockton in the chest and killing him.
The father staggered backwards into the store and died in front of his 5-year-old son.
Drejka later told police that he was “afraid” that McGlockton would “attack” him again, according to an article posted on the website reason.com.
If Drejka was so bothered by this family’s misuse of the parking space, he should have complained to the store owner or called the police. There’s a lot of that going around.
But Drejka took matters in his own hands and that makes him a vigilante.
Yet the Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri declined to arrest Drejka, citing the “Stand Your Ground” law.
“We’re precluded from making an arrest in this type of situation, Gualtieri claimed at a press conference a day after McGlockton was killed,” the New York Post reported.
It should matter that Drejka put himself in harm’s way when he accosted a stranger.
McGlockton’s family has said they “will not rest until the state’s attorney files charges.”
“Any kind of law that allows one man to kill another man, and the man who pulled the trigger doesn’t even get fingerprinted … it needs to stop. Something needs to be done,” said Michael McGlockton, the slain man’s father.
This latest controversy is unfolding a week before a documentary about another infamous “Stand Your Ground” shooting is to be released.
“Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” is due to premier on the Paramount Network on July 31.
In 2012, the 17-year-old Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who claimed he feared for his life during a physical confrontation with the unarmed teenager.
It took mass protests across the country before Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. A six-member jury acquitted Zimmerman in 2013.
Still, the subjective nature of this contentious law makes it ripe for abuse.
If Drejka were allowed to hide behind Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, it sends the message that, once again, a black man doesn’t have any rights that a white man has to respect.
That very thought should be enough to make civil rights organizations descend upon Clearwater like it’s the 1960’s.