A deadly situation has caused national debate over Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law and an uproar. Michael Drejka, 47, is seen on camera shooting another man after he was pushed to the ground.
Drejka is ultimately charged with manslaughter, but not before claiming he was standing his ground.
Last month, McGlockton parked in a handicap spot with his girlfriend and three young children before going into a convenience store with his 5-year-old son to buy snacks. Outside, Drejka approached McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs. She said Drejka yelled at her for parking in a handicapped spot without a permit.
Surveillance footage shows McGlockton walking out of the store and shoving Drejka to the ground. Seconds later, Drejka pulled out his gun and fired a single shot at McGlockton in the chest. He later died at a nearby hospital.
Drejka has a concealed weapons permit and told police he shot McGlockton because he feared for his life. The sheriff’s office originally declined to pursue charges last month and passed the case onto prosecutors to make the final decision. The office said Drejka was protected by the state’s “stand your ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force when fearing “imminent death or great bodily harm” without a duty to try to escape the danger.
Defense Attorney Daniel Garza said, “If he felt like he had to use the deadly force and he might have been reasonable in his mind, but now a jury or judge will decide if that’s a legit self-defense issue.”
The idea behind the Florida law is that you no longer have to retreat in a situation where you feel threatened. You can “Stand your ground” and defend yourself — beyond just your personal property to anywhere.
Rob DeDanis is in favor of the law and says, “My own property is myself, my personal being, that goes outside my vehicle and outside of my home.”
It puts the burden on the prosecution to prove it wasn’t self defense. But in a case like this where the victim is shown backing away before being shot it has raised the question, if “Self defense” is just a legal defense.
Vincent Mastrangelo thinks Dreja should be convicted, “I feel like you can’t just be like hey I can use it to get away with so and so.”
“People think that if I can articulate that I was in fear of my life then I can get away with it,” siad Garza, “but there’s still a level of proof that needs to be associated with it.”
Representative Heather Fitzenhagen admits the law should be more closely examined, “I think the law as it stands is a good law. I think how it’s applied is what we need to look more closely at.”
Governor Rick Scott’s office said in a statement in part: “The governor expects that every Florida law be enforced and applied fairly… If the legislature wants to make any changes to clarify Florida’s laws next legislative session, they can do so.”
No other lawmakers returned a request for comment.
WHAT’S THE LAW? Read the full text of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law”