Florida Man Who Shot And Killed A Black Man Over Parking Dispute Gets 20 Years

Oct 11, 2019
Originally published on October 10, 2019 7:44 pm

Michael Drejka, a white Florida man, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for his role in last year's fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in a dispute over a handicapped-accessible parking spot.

A jury convicted Drejka of manslaughter in August in the death of Markeis McGlockton.

Drejka did not show any emotion when he was sentenced, according to The Associated Press, which adds that the judge found it ironic that Drejka illegally parked next to McGlockton's girlfriend's car and then confronted her about parking illegally in a handicapped space.

"He just seems to come out of nowhere, kind of like a superhero, to see that he enforces the handicapped parking spot," Circuit Judge Joseph A. Bulone said, as quoted by the AP.

Pinellas Pasco Circuit Court Judge Joseph A. Bulone addresses the court before sentencing Drejka Thursday.
John Pendygraft / AP

During the trial, attorneys for Drejka said their client acted in self-defense when he and McGlockton got into an argument in front of Circle A Food Mart, a convenience store in the city of Clearwater.

As NPR reported, the July 2018 incident was captured on surveillance footage. It began when McGlockton's girlfriend, Brittany Jacobs, began arguing with Drejka, who was upset that she had parked in the handicapped parking space without a visible permit.

McGlockton and the couple's young son were inside the store at the time. The security footage shows McGlockton exiting the store, walking toward Drejka and pushing him to the asphalt.

Surveillance image shows McGlockton (far left), an unarmed black man, being shot by Drejka, who is white, during an altercation in a Clearwater, Fla., parking lot in July 2018.
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office via AP

Footage then appears to show McGlockton moving away. That's when Drejka, a concealed-carry permit holder, draws his weapon while on his knees and shoots McGlockton.

Initially Drejka was not charged in the killing. After several weeks, the case was handed over to the office of the state attorney, who charged Drejka with manslaughter.

A letter written by Drejka's wife was read in the courtroom Thursday saying her husband "was not a bad person," according to the AP. The AP also reports that Drejka's wife claims family and friends have received threats and that is why they were not present in the courtroom.

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